The end of all dictators…
The military said the 93-year-old president was “safe and sound.”
Zimbabwe’s military seized powerearly on Wednesday targeting “criminals” around President Robert Mugabe but gave assurances on national television that the 93-year-old leader and his family were “safe and sound”.
Soldiers and armored vehicles blocked roads to the main government offices, parliament and the courts in central Harare, while taxis ferried commuters to work nearby, a Reuters witness said.
Mugabe, the self-styled ‘Grand Old Man’ of African politics, has led Zimbabwe for the last 37 years. In contrast to his elevated status on the continent, Mugabe is reviled in the West as a despot whose disastrous handling of the economy and willingness to resort to violence to maintain power destroyed one of Africa’s most promising states.
“We are only targeting criminals around him (Mugabe) who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice,” Major General SB Moyo, Chief of Staff Logistics, said on television.
Neither Mugabe nor his wife Grace, who has been vying to succeed her husband as president, have been seen or heard from.
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma spoke to Mugabe on Wednesday, and Mugabe told Zuma that he was confined to his home but that he was fine, the South African presidency said in a statement.
He said in a televised statement that he will be sending an envoy to meet with Mugabe and assess the situation, and will send a second envoy to Angola “so that there is a closer interaction between us and the Zimbabweans.” The South African Defense Force will not get involved, he added.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change called for a peaceful return to constitutional democracy, adding it hoped the military intervention would lead to the “establishment of a stable, democratic and progressive nation state”.
Zuma – speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) – expressed hope there would be no unconstitutional changes of government in Zimbabwe as that would be contrary to both SADC and African Union positions.
Zuma urged Zimbabwe’s government and the military “to resolve the political impasse amicably.”
“As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.”…