On November 14, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) initiated a coup to oust President Mugabe from power. It is now a full week since the process by the ZDF to have a transition of power started. Zimbabwe became independent from the British in 1980 bringing the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front’s (ZANU PF) Mugabe into power as a Prime Minister of the new nation (and later president) which he has since ruled for the past 37 years.
As the days unfolded it has been reported as a slow motion coup, as a peaceful coup and even a bloodless one. However, details reveal that some people have indeed lost their lives according to City Press’ Sipho Masondo. Nevertheless, this coup is a unique one. It has all the characteristics of a coup but still distinguishes itself in how strategically it has been planned to ensure a smooth transition of power. First is in the fact that ZANU-PF, the ruling party whose faction is behind the coup, denying that what is happening is a coup, trying to maneuver Mugabe to resign, in failure of which there’s plan to move parliament to impeach him. This reflects that the coup masterminds are avoiding an obvious military takeover in favor of an unusual but constitutional process.
There have been criticisms as well doubting the success of the coup. For instance the fact that it is still the army that seems to be lined up to take the leadership of the country in its hands given its role in the current events. This fact also puts ZANU-PF squarely at the centre of these events in a country that has got a multi-party system of politics. The opposition party through its spokesperson to news24 insists that even though getting rid of Mugabe is a first step towards realizing democracy, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is not ready to enter into a coalition government with any of the ZANU-PF factions solely to enhance and strengthen the factional agenda of a ZANU-PF grouping.
The international community waits to see how the events unfold. Coups are considered undemocratic and as such don’t serve the desired transition of power expected in a functioning democracy, and recognized by international order. There are some who have come out to speak on the matter; however, most of the press statements are couched in diplomatic language and have a similar thread running through them which is a call for peace, and non-violent means to end conflict.
For peace to prevail on the continent there needs to be peaceful transition of power but even better, a peaceful handover, which seems to be the main goal ZDF has been targeting. With that said, to envision a real change and a restoration of democracy in Zimbabwe, it is necessary that peace and better leadership springs from this experience.