THAT Zimbabwe is on the cusp of a military coup is out of question after the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander, General Constantino Chiwenga, called President Robert Mugabe to stop Zanu PF succession wars that have cost the country over the last few years.
From Chiwenga’s utterances, it appeared he was miffed by the purge of former Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa from both government and Zanu PF, and the ongoing expulsions of Mugabe’s former number two’s allies ahead of the December extraordinary congress, among other issues.
It is an open secret that the sacking of Mnangagwa could have triggered these developments, but we believe the generals could have engaged Mugabe as their commander-in-chief to express their concerns and resolve them in their closet without necessarily dragging the nation into this quagmire.
From a layman’s view, Chiwenga is on point when he claimed the ructions in the ruling party have cost the country and its population over the years as no meaningful development has taken place.
In fact, Zimbabwe has been in perpetual election mode since the coming on board of the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC almost 18 years ago.
There is no doubt that these Zanu PF leadership shenanigans affecting the country in general, must be treated with extreme caution.
But we believe military rule is unconstitutional and, besides, it may lead to further deterioration of the current situation. We have no doubt that Zimbabweans do not envy those countries under junta rule for many reasons.
While most Zimbabweans are unhappy with the prevailing situation in the country and Zanu PF’s continued misrule as well as the deterioration of livelihoods that perhaps only a change of government would resolve, we are wary of a situation whereby the military may want to take over.
It is not clear yet how this stand-off between the military and Mugabe will pan out, but we would like to urge the parties involved to quickly resolve their differences before mapping a strategic and sustainable way out, which will not lead to degeneration into chaos and anarchy.
Zimbabwe has generally enjoyed relative peace, security and stability and it is important to maintain this tradition.
No one is sure yet what Chiwenga meant by “step in”, but the citizens would rather want a situation in which the army remains neutral observers of political developments.
We are concerned by developments happening in the country under the watch of the fractious Zanu PF regime. We do not believe the army has the capacity and wherewithal to stabilise the situation, particularly because there are no indicators that the political developments will lead to major, nation-wide chaos.
The fact that security chiefs – including Zimbabwe National Army commander Lt General Philip Valerio Sibanda, Air Vice Marshal Elson Moyo, major generals, brigadier-generals, wing commanders, senior commanders from the rank of base commanders upwards – could come together to make political pronouncements is really worrisome.
If Zanu PF is going to implode, it must be allowed to do so because it has failed to self-regenerate, and new political parties with a new vision and trajectory for the country must be allowed to emerge and in all these processes, the defence forces should not be partakers.
It may be a little too exaggeration to imagine Zimbabwe deteriorating into another Somalia and Central African Republic because Southern Africa is not known for military coups.
The tense atmosphere prevailing should be quickly defused, and Mugabe should explain what is going on behind the scenes to calm the situation.