When Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) announced they were in-charge of the affairs of the country, many thought Mugabe’s days were over. Alas, the old man has proved to his detractors that he is not a mere pushover.
On Tuesday when ZDF declared their dramatic falling out with their Commander in Chief, they have almost exhausted the rule book for evicting a sitting president.
First, the army generals took him hostage in his private residence, denounced the sacking of his vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa by his wife Grace Mugabe. Any civilized politician worth their salt would simply have parked their bags and left the presidency in the face of such an embarrassment.
Instead Mugabe confounded his critics when two days after his house arrest by the military, he showed up and presided at the Graduation Ceremony of Zimbabwe Open University. It is alleged that the army even prepared a resignation statement and handed it to him to read, to which he refused.
This came despite assurances to Zimbabweans who had waited decades for change that “Significant progress was being made in their operation to weed out criminals around President Mugabe,”
The plotters of Mugabe’s dignified exit then planned a mass demonstration on Saturday as well as a ZANU-PF top organ that removed the elderly statesman as the party’s chairman. Still, Mugabe appeared on National TV and poured cold water on the plan, insisting that he intends to remain president.
Then ZDF announced another plan; of impeaching him by Parliament as soon as Tuesday, (tomorrow). It’s not clear for now what more tricks Mugabe still holds in his bag and what his tormentors would do in case he refuses to comply.
Why Mugabe’s road out is proving too narrow?
The quandary faced by all those who want to see Mugabe’s back stems from three key challenges; the Shona culture of respect accorded to senior citizens would put them in unfavorable light. Secondly, the fact that at 93, Mugabe has nothing to lose. The third problem is that the army bosses feared to fall foul to AU tough restrictions against Coups, and have gone slow on him.
According to reports, Zimbabweans accord enormous respect to the elderly, as reflected in the way ZDF as well as the opposition leader continued to refer to him as the President and father of the nation.
Photos have emerged showing on the one hand, Mugabe jovially shaking hands with Gen.Constantino Chiwenga, the General who ordered his house arrest. On the other hand, military Generals were captured fidgeting with copies of their speech on National TV. The implications couldn’t be clearer. Mugabe is still on top of the game.
It should not surprise you when he defies everyone and sees out his term next year, confirming that he may well be the most cunning 93-year old of his generation.