[This post will update periodically, check back for latest developments and commentary from Anti-Imperialism]
4:12am: President Mugabe is apparently under house arrest, and sacked former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa is back in the country from self-imposed exile. Reuters claims to have leaked intelligence documents stating that Mnangagwa wishes to invite the white farmers and business owners back into the country to stabilize its affairs. If this is true it represents a backslide from the national bourgeois rule of ZANU-PF and the indigenization work of the Mugabe administration.
Grace Mugabe, the designated successor, is apparently secured under house arrest as well, as the military assures that Mugabe “and his family are safe and sound.”
Sadly, the politics of peripheral states are rarely their own, and the likelihood of imperial machinations at work in the current powerplay are high. The pro-monopoly capital leanings of Mnangagwa suggest he could be supported by either the u.$. or uk, and the coup leader, General Constantino Chiwenga, met with Chinese defense counterparts just last week, but the Chinese government says that it was merely a normal, agreed-upon exchange. Pretoria did not hinder Mr. Mnangagwa from leaving the country, which suggests their support for the coup that seeks to install him.
The ZANU-PF youth wing has previously vowed to die for Mugabe if need be, but today the twitter accounts associated with all ZANU-PF organs declare a “peaceful transition of power”.
Updates to follow.
4:29am: The imperial rag, The Guardian, continues to post purported interviews with civilians in Harare who are “excited” for “change”, and believe the military is acting “for the people”. Whether these quotes are real or not is immaterial. It is clear the Guardian supports the coup overwhelmingly. Hands begin to point to british/south african collusion.
5:07am: The Zimbabwean bourgeoisie complain of political uncertainty just before coup.
5:25am: Britain must support Zimbabwe in changing from the “nasty dictatorship” of Robert Mugabe to a democracy, says former uk afrika minister.
5:51am: President of South Afrika, Jacob Zuma, says he has spoken with the Zimbabwe ruling clique and confirmed that Mugabe is under house arrest and in good health. He will be dispatching envoys to meet both Mugabe and the coup leaders. More than a little coordination is evident on the part of South Afrika and Zuma. Almost certain that SA in the local liaison with the coup plotters to assure no outside interference.
6:26am: The War Veterans Association Secretary General Victor Matemadanda calls for Mugabe to be removed as President as well as first-secretary of ZANU-PF. The veterans of the independence struggle have in recent years soured on Mugabe’s heavy-handed tactics as well as his wife’s youth-led G40 faction.
6:33am: Rather than being under house arrest as previously insinuated, Grace Mugabe might actually have been in Namibia on a business trip, according to opposition sources.
9:01am: Jason Burke of The Guardian has reported that an opposition official stated Mugabe will be made to step down this week and is to be replaced by Mnangagwa. Their goal now is to patch together the veteran’s associations, the fragmented opposition, and the internal party opposition to form a precarious new government and halt the G40 faction. As is often said in military coups, the commander in charge has expressed vague platitudes of democracy and constitutionalism as the justification for the move, stating that civil order will be restored shortly.
Meanwhile, Tendai Biti, a prominent opposition leader, has made even more vague talk of reclaiming “legitimacy” from Mugabe and the G40 faction. He went on to say “What is key is that a traditional authority is set up which is inclusive with the opposition and the ruling party … We need a dialogue too with [regional organisations], the African Union and the United Nations. We can’t solve this problem on our own.” It is unclear what role the UN and AU is to play in this transition, but given recent threats by the UN sanction-regime which has been harassing regional governments suspected of undermining the blockade imposed over the DPRK, it is clear nothing good will come of it.
9:40am: Amerikan networks are now joining in, The New York Times has penned an article in explicit support of the coup leaders, calling the leadership of Robert Mugabe “ruthless” and lauding the opposition who have seized the country. It is worth noting that they have referenced President Mugabe’s age and supposed “frailty” as a quasi-justification for the coup, while endorsing the ascension of a 75 year old man, older than the oldest amerikan president-elect. Virtually all imperialist media sources have created a kind of consensus on the issue: they are unfamiliar with the players, but ecstatic about the game. The call for calm by reserved neoliberal leaders, waiting to hear the platform of the coup leaders, is falling largely on deaf ears.
2:15pm: In an interview with Sputnik International, Dr. Ciara McCorley, a researcher with the University of Sussex, discussed the coup and the misinformation being spread throughout the media. Sputnik asked why, if there was a coup, the ruling party would deny such a thing on Twitter, which Dr. McCorley responded: “I don’t know whether they are. Actually, there are two Twitter accounts that claimed to be the ruling party. They seem to be the main source of information for the media, and neither one is confirmed. So it is likely that they are denying this in order to maintain some kind of peace and stability. The general that made statements this morning he indicated that there is concern that the current situation in the country […] might result in a violent conflict. So, I suppose that by denying that the coup is actually happening, the forces staying in power can try [to] maintain some form of stability, in the short run at least.”
The confusion caused by misinformation promoted by coup leaders, along with the imperialists in their premature victory-lap, has created a difficult scenario for getting reliable information from the country.
5:35pm: The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) published a statement regarding the political developments in Zimbabwe. In it they state that Mugabe “must hand over political power to the next generation and should not allow his name to be used for the further degeneration of a country he led to political liberation,” and that “Opportunists around him, particularly his close relatives and wife have taken advantage of president Mugabe and used his power and struggle credentials to purge political opponents.”
The statement, given that it comes from the EFF, is worth consideration. However, we remain skeptical whether or not the new 75-year-old presidential hopeful and the aging Veteran’s associations, along with their virulent hatred of the ZANU-PF Youth League, are truly exemplars of the passage of power to the “next generation” or if it is something much more regressive. A lot remains to be seen, but we encourage our readers to remain skeptical of these coup leaders and their intentions.
[END OF UPDATES]