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On November 14, 2017 Zimbabwe military troops drove tanks through the streets of the capital city of Harare. The military patrolled the streets, blocked access to government offices and took over the state television office. A press conference was conducted by the spokesperson of the Zimbabwean Military who announced that, ‘It is not a coup’, though, it clearly was.
The Zimbabwean troops captured the presidential palace and put President Robert Mugabe under custody. Generally, Military actions like these results in the takeover of power. But in this case there was no such change of power.

Who is Robert Mugabe?
Robert Mugabe once praised as a war hero and a freedom fighter is quite unpopular amongst the people of Zimbabwe. He played a major role in the Independence struggle of Zimbabwe against the British. In 1980, after Zimbabwe got independence from the United Kingdom, Robert Mugabe’s popularity led him to take over as the president of the country under the Zimbabwe’s new constitution. Mugabe currently the world’s oldest head of state is considered to be a repressing dictator.
During Mugabe’s 37 years as the head of state, corruption, poverty and hunger has engulfed Zimbabwe. According to Transparency International every year Zimbabwe loses 1 billion dollars to corruption. Zimbabwe’s economy is very weak with inflation hitting at the rate of 231,000,000% in 2008. Apart from that Mugabe’s administration has been authoritative and is alleged to have committed gross human rights violations.

What instigated the military to act?
Zimbabwe’s vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was fired this month by Robert Mugabe. Many saw this as Mugabe’s attempt to replace Mnangagwa with his wife Grace Mugabe, who will eventually succeed him as the President. Mnangagwa is a close ally of the army chief General Constantine Chiwenga, who has in the past warned Mugabe of dire consequences if there are political purges in the future.

Who is Emmerson Mnangagwa?
Emmerson Mnangagwa became the Vice President of Zimbabwe in 2014. As an old friend of Mugabe, he was considered to the heir apparent for many years. But everything changed on 6th November this year.

Mugabe’s downfall?
Mugabe has indeed lost his grip over the country. The provincial heads of Mugabe’s party, the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), have passed a no-confidence against him and have called for his resignation. Mugabe is widely unpopular and the people of Zimbabwe have also lost their faith in his leadership. In an interview with Reuters, acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto appeared to dismiss the idea of Mugabe as the president.

Whoever ends up getting charge of the country; Mnangagwa, the military or Grace Mugabe, corruption will continue. All these actors want to keep the status quo. For the general population the problem will remain the same no matter who consolidates power. What is uncertain in the near future is Zimbabwe’s leadership, but what’s certain is that in the midst of political upheavals, the cries of the people will not be heard.

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Kartikey Misra

A student of law, co-founder eltrivate, Individualist, Narcissist. Totally believes in Nationalism. Has an interest in politics, history, religion, literature and international relations. Loves to hunt pseudo liberals and pseudo seculars.

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