pcloudy.png
Sunday May 19th, 2019 8:40PM

After 37 years, rule of Zimbabwe's Mugabe appears to be over

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe's military was in control of the capital and the state broadcaster on Wednesday and was holding President Robert Mugabe and his wife under house arrest in what appeared to be a coup against the 93-year-old Mugabe, the world's oldest head of state.

The military was at pains, however, to emphasize it had not staged a military takeover, but was instead starting a process to restore Zimbabwe's democracy.

Still, the military appeared to have brought an end to Mugabe's long, 37-year reign in what the army's supporters praised as a "bloodless correction." South Africa and other neighboring countries were sending in leaders to negotiate with Mugabe and the generals to encourage the transition.

Citizens in Zimbabwe's tidy capital, Harare, contributed to the feeling of a smooth transition by carrying on with their daily lives, walking past the army's armored personnel carriers to go to work and to shops. Many who have never known any leader but Mugabe waited in long lines at banks to draw limited amounts of cash, a result of this once-prosperous country's plummeting economy.

Felix Tsanganyiso, who sells mobile airtime vouchers in Harare, said he was following the developments on WhatsApp.

"But I am still in the dark about what is happening," he said. "So far so good. We are going about our business without harassment. My plea is that whoever takes over should sort out the economy. We are tired of living like this."

The series of whiplash events followed Mugabe's firing last week of his deputy, which appeared to position the first lady, Grace Mugabe, to replace Emmerson Mnangagwa as one of the country's two vice presidents at a party conference next month.

But the 52-year-old first lady is unpopular among many Zimbabweans for her lavish spending on mansions, cars and jewels. Last month she went to court to sue a diamond dealer for not supplying her with a 100-carat diamond that she said she had paid for.

Grace Mugabe has been known as the leader of the G40, a group of Cabinet ministers and officials in their 40s and 50s who are too young to have fought in Zimbabwe's war to end white-minority rule in Rhodesia. When Mnangagwa was fired, the generals and war veterans felt they were being sidelined and took action to stop that, analysts say.

Mnangagwa's whereabouts were not clear Wednesday. He fled the country last week, citing threats to himself and his family.

Critics of the government urged Mugabe to go quietly. "The old man should be allowed to rest," former Zimbabwe finance minister and activist Tendai Biti told South African broadcaster eNCA.

On Monday, the army commander made an unprecedented statement criticizing Mugabe for pushing aside veterans of the liberation war. The following day, the ruling party condemned the army leader for "treasonable conduct" and that evening the army sent armored personnel carriers into Harare and seized control of the state broadcaster and other strategic points, including Mugabe's residence.

In a televised address to the nation early Wednesday, Maj. Gen. Sibusiso Moyo said the army had "guaranteed" the safety of Mugabe and his wife, but added the military would target "criminals" around Mugabe, in an apparent reference to the first lady's G40 group.

South African President Jacob Zuma said he was sending his ministers of defense and state security to Zimbabwe to meet with Mugabe and the military there. He said he hopes Zimbabwe's army will respect the constitution and that the situation "is going to be controlled."

In Washington, the U.S. State Department said the Trump administration was "concerned by recent actions undertaken by Zimbabwe's military forces" and called on the country's leaders to exercise restraint. The United States "does not take sides in matters of internal Zimbabwean politics and does not condone military intervention in political processes," it said in a statement.

Who will rule Zimbabwe should become clearer in the coming days.

"There is a soft transition underway," said Zimbabwean analyst Alex Rusero.

"The whole idea is that the military has always been the chief broker" in Mugabe's ruling party, he said. "But there were attempts to sideline the military by G40 and (the military) are reasserting their position."

Mnangagwa may well be installed as a transitional leader to return Zimbabwe to constitutional rule, Rusero said.

Zimbabwe may enter a period of negotiation to get Mugabe to step down voluntarily, said Piers Pigou, southern Africa consultant for the International Crisis Group, who also suggested that Mnangagwa may be an interim leader.

"Zimbabwe could have some kind of inclusive government and some kind of democratic process, possibly leading to elections," Pigou said. "It's clearly a coup d'etat, but typical of Zimbabwe, the military is trying to put a veneer of legality on the process. ... It is part of the theater that Zimbabwe is so good at, to try to make things look orderly and democratic. South Africa and other neighboring countries may be brought in to help put some lipstick on the pig."

___

Meldrum reported from Johannesburg.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
After 37 years, rule of Zimbabwe's Mugabe appears to be over
After 37 years, Mugabe's rule appears to be over; 'We are tired of living like this'
3:29PM ( 10 minutes ago )
The Latest: US says Zimbabwe situation 'remains fluid'
The Latest: US says Zimbabwe situation 'remains fluid;' concern over military's actions
3:19PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Lawyer: Freedom sweet for man wrongfully convicted in 1974
A Louisiana man walked free on Wednesday nearly 50 years after his arrest in the kidnapping and rape of a nurse. A judge overturned his conviction, and his lawyer says if prosecutors keep fighting, it would be both illegal and immoral.
3:08PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
3 UCLA players suspended indefinitely after China arrests
Three UCLA basketball players accused of shoplifting in China apologized Wednesday before coach Steve Alford announced they were being suspended indefinitely
2:57PM ( 43 minutes ago )
After Maria, US schools get influx of Puerto Rican students
Anthony Valencia, 10: All smiles and back to school _ on US mainland _ as part of Puerto Rican exodus after Hurricane Maria
2:57PM ( 43 minutes ago )
Republicans set stage for crucial tax overhaul votes
A sweeping tax overhaul has cleared a procedural hurdle in the House
2:53PM ( 47 minutes ago )
AP National News
The Latest: Hundreds line up for Texas shooting funeral
Hundreds of people have lined up to attend a funeral for eight relatives killed in a mass shooting at a small Texas church
1:49PM ( 1 hour ago )
MLB hopes for new Japan posting deal by early December
Major League Baseball hopes to reach a new agreement on a posting system with Japan by early December, a deal that would allow star pitcher-outfielder Shohei Otani to start negotiations with big league teams
1:47PM ( 1 hour ago )
Minnesota loses bid for 1st world's fair in US since 1984
Minnesota has lost its bid to host the first World's Fair on U.S. soil in 40 years, beat out by a campaign by Argentina's capital to celebrate human creativity
1:31PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Hundreds line up for Texas church shooting family funeral
One of the survivors of a mass shooting at a small Texas church will hold a funeral Wednesday for his pregnant wife and three of her children, his parents, a brother and a toddler niece
1:58PM ( 1 hour ago )
New money: Mnuchin and Carranza now on the dollar bill
Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and US Treasurer Carranza signatures now on currency
1:21PM ( 2 hours ago )
Moore stands firm despite GOP pressure to leave Alabama race
Washington Republicans are cranking up pressure on Alabama's GOP to keep a defiant Roy Moore from being elected to the Senate next month
1:21PM ( 2 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
The Latest: UN chief calls for calm, restraint in Zimbabwe
The Latest: UN chief calls for calm, restraint in Zimbabwe; 'bit of confusion on the ground'
2:46PM ( 54 minutes ago )
The Latest: African Union says Mugabe, wife safe in country
The Latest: African Union chair says Mugabe, wife are safe in Zimbabwe
2:37PM ( 1 hour ago )
Egyptian singer faces trial after mocking the Nile
Famous Arab singer to go on trial next month for mocking the Nile, banned from performing in her native Egypt
2:25PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
The Latest: US says Zimbabwe situation 'remains fluid'
The Latest: US says Zimbabwe situation 'remains fluid;' concern over military's actions
3:19PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Lawyer: Freedom sweet for man wrongfully convicted in 1974
A Louisiana man walked free on Wednesday nearly 50 years after his arrest in the kidnapping and rape of a nurse. A judge overturned his conviction, and his lawyer says if prosecutors keep fighting, it would be both illegal and immoral.
3:08PM ( 32 minutes ago )
The Latest: Harvey Weinstein stripped of honorary degree
Harvey Weinstein is stripped of an honorary degree from the University of Buffalo
3:07PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Egypt displays previously unseen King Tut artifacts
Egypt is displaying previously unseen treasures from King Tutankhamun's famed tomb
3:04PM ( 36 minutes ago )
The Latest: Police block migrants' march to Greek border
Police have blocked some 200 migrants and asylum-seekers from leaving a city in northern Greece for the Macedonian border in hopes of traveling on to other European Union countries
3:01PM ( 39 minutes ago )