Zimbabwe coup & lessons for African Dictators

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The sack of the 93 year old President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is another lesson for African dictators who believed that they are born to rule for ever regardless of the state of the economy  which they govern. Mugabe destroyed the economy of Zimbabwe so that he will remain in power for ever. As at the last ranking by the World Bank, unemployment figure in Zimbabwe was at 80 per cent of the population. The destruction of the economy took place under Mugabe who came to power as a saint with the support of the people and became a terrorist. His wealth before the house arrest stands at $10 million while the people lives in abject poverty. His reforms of 37 years rule were designed to make him remain power for ever and to be succeeded by another leader from his family.

Surprisingly, on Monday, November 13, military tanks were seen moving into Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, sparking rumors of a military coup. No one has ever attempted a coup against Mugabe before, but the coup  indeed took place in a country where the national currency has been replaced with United States Dollar and South Africa’s Rand.

The military took control of the state television station on Tuesday and announced that the situation had “moved to another level.” Reports published revealed that the military’s seizure of power was prompted by Mr. Mugabe’s sacking of his vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, a veteran of Zimbabwe’s war of liberation, last week. Military officials speculated that the move was intended to clear a path of succession for the president’s wife, Grace Mugabe. Mugabe as at the time of this editorial is still under house arrest.

Despite his destruction of the economy and refusal of his followers to protest  his house arrest, Reuters reports that sources close to the talks said the 93-year-old president is resisting pressure from the military and the mediating priest, Father Fidelis Mukonori, to voluntarily resign ahead of the elections slated for next year. The South African government sent envoys to mediate the talks on Thursday, while the regional Southern African Development Community are holding an emergency meeting in Botswana.

At the beginning of his rule, Mugabe was a welcome relief from the war that had ripped through the country for over a decade. According to reports, in that kind of atmosphere, where people really wanted to work politically and work within the new system, Mugabe was able to gradually and then quite tightly consolidate power.

In the mid-1980s, Mugabe shored up his popular support by promising to redistribute resources to soldiers who had fought for the war. He would continue to use the promise of land redistribution, which had been a major goal of the Second Chimurenga, as a way to maintain his popularity.

There are still few of these leaders like Mugabe  in Africa.

For instance in 2016, the Republic of Congo and Uganda swore-in long serving leaders Denis Sassou Nguesso and Yoweri Museveni for fresh terms after polls that were contested by a section of the opposition.

Equatorial Guineans also went to the polls and confirmed the mandate of Africa’s longest serving president – Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Chad’s Idris Deby Itno also got a mandate extension in 2016 after 25 years in charge. These dictators  and others led by Paul Biya of Cameroon, Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and Idris Deby of Chad should follow the path of honour by introducing political reforms immediately that will ensure their immediate exit.

Nigerian NewsDirect suggests that global world bodies   led by the African Union should show interest if they  are truly interested in the life of Zimbabwe people. World leaders  should mount pressure on Mugabe to resign in order to rescue Zimbabwe and to avoid another Somali on African’s continent. Mugabe should also be prosecuted for several killings carried out during his 37 year of  dictatorship. This will help other dictators in Africa to prepare for the day of  judgement when people will rise against  them.