by Fredrick Ngugi, at 03:16 am, November 21, 2017, Politics

Confusion in Zimbabwe As Embattled President Robert Mugabe Stays Put

A week after the Zimbabwean military captured power and put President Robert Mugabe under house arrest, mystery still surrounds what has been termed as the most peaceful coup in Africa.

It is still not clear what the military sought to achieve from the overnight operation on Tuesday as the 93-year-old Mugabe is still, at least constitutionally, the President of Zimbabwe.

Even after being sacked as the President of the ruling party ZANU-PF and replaced by his former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom he had fired two weeks ago, Mugabe has defied calls for him to step down as President.

War veterans and members of ZANU-PF, who have been the political mainstay of President Mugabe for the 38 years he has been in power, had given him until Monday afternoon to resign, failure to which they would sponsor his impeachment in parliament.

Mugabe was expected to issue his official resignation statement on Sunday night but it didn’t happen, leaving many Zimbabweans confused about the country’s future.

Flanked by military generals, President Mugabe issued a rambling speech on live TV, blaming the current economic situation in the country on the serious infighting within ZANU-PF.

The veteran head of state also dismissed Tuesday’s coup as inconsequential, saying it was “not a threat” to his authority.

“We cannot be guided by bitterness. We must learn to forgive and resolve contradictions real or perceived in a comradely Zimbabwean spirit,” Mugabe said in the 20-minute speech.

Wrong Speech

Rumor has it that Mugabe was ready to resign on Sunday but his resignation speech was swapped at the last minute.

A video has also emerged purporting to show the moment when the Zimbabwean army generals switched the president’s speech on Sunday.

Mugabe’s statement has sparked mixed reactions across the country, with the head of the influential war veterans’ association, Chris Mutsvangwa, dismissing the president’s speech as irrelevant.

“We will go for impeachment and we are calling people back to the streets,” Mutsvangwa told AFP on Sunday.

On Saturday, hundreds of Zimbabweans marched on the streets of the capital Harare in a show of solidarity with the military.  Many said they were happy about the coup and called on Mugabe to retire peacefully.

It is not clear what the next course of action for the military and Zimbabweans will be as Mugabe continues to refer to himself as the head of state and the commander-in-chief.

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