Zimbabwean army keeps promise, leaves streets for police to function

December 19, 2017 at 06:31 am | News

Fredrick Ngugi

Fredrick Ngugi | Contributor

December 19, 2017 at 06:31 am | News

After weeks of heavy military presence in different parts of Zimbabwe, normalcy is now expected to return following Monday’s announcement by the army chief that the military intervention which led to the ouster of the former President Robert Mugabe has ended.

Speaking to journalists in the capital Harare the Zimbabwean National Army Commander Phillip Valerio Sibanda also announced that the military will be handing back the normal day-to-day policing roles to the police.

“Normalcy has now returned to our country. We want to thank all Zimbabweans for their support, patience and understanding during the five weeks of Operation Restore Legacy,” Sibanda was quoted by AFP.

He, however, called on the citizens to be on alert for any “malcontents and saboteurs”, claiming that some members of the previous regime, many of whom have already fled the country, are now “bad-mouthing” Zimbabwe with the intention of disturbing peace and tranquillity in the country.

“Your defence and security would like to remind all Zimbabweans to remain vigilant and report any suspicious objects and individuals to law enforcement agents,” the military chief warned.

The Zimbabwean military took over government operations on November 15 in what it termed as Operation Restore Legacy. Many people saw it as a coup against President Robert Mugabe, who had ruled the country for 37 years.

But the military maintains that the operation only targeted corrupt government officials who had held the 93-year-old President hostage. The overnight operation saw several key government officials, including cabinet ministers arrested and President Mugabe, put under house arrest.

For several days after the military takeover, a cloud of uncertainty hanged over the South African nation as the veteran head of state defied calls for him to retire. But after intensive talks and mediation, Mugabe agreed to step down and hand over power to his long-time deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa.

At the time of Mugabe’s resignation, Mnangagwa was in exile after he was unceremoniously fired by Mugabe to pave way for the First Lady Grace Mugabe to succeed her ageing husband. But Mnangagwa, who is commonly referred to as the “Crocodile”, had vowed to return to Zimbabwe to wrest power from his former boss.

Upon his return to the country, just a day after Mugabe announced his resignation, Mnangagwa was appointed president of the ruling party ZANU-PF and subsequently sworn in as the President of Zimbabwe until 2018 when a fresh presidential election will be held.

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