Skip to comments.Zimbabwean Generals Have 'Taken Robert Mugabe's Power'
Posted on 06/05/2008 1:17:34 PM PDT by blam
Zimbabwean generals have 'taken Robert Mugabe's power'
By David Blair, Diplomatic Editor
Last Updated: 9:03PM BST 05/06/2008
Zimbabwe's generals have mounted a "military coup by stealth", reducing President Robert Mugabe to a "figurehead", a senior western diplomat said.
The tight circle of "securocrats", who sit on the Joint Operations Command (JOC) committee, are now believed to be in day-to-day charge of Zimbabwe's government.
They ensured Mr Mugabe did not step down after his defeat in the presidential election's first round in March and are now masterminding a campaign of terror to suppress the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and guarantee victory for Mr Mugabe in the June 27 run-off.
The government indefinitely suspended all work by aid groups and non-governmental organisations, accusing them of breaching their terms of registration.
Mr Mugabe is a useful figurehead who still commands the deference of other African leaders, notably President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.
But the western diplomat said Mr Mugabe's power had ebbed away and Zimbabwe was now run by a "junta".
"This is a military coup by stealth," he said. "There are no tanks on people's lawns, but the Joint Operations Command runs this country."
The most powerful figures on the JOC are Gen Constantine Chiwenga, the overall military chief; Augustine Chihuri, the national police commissioner, and Gen Paradzai Zimondi, the commander of the prison service.
Air Marshal Perence Shiri, the commander of the air force, who masterminded a brutal military campaign against Zimbabwe's minority Ndebele people in the 1980s, is also part of the circle, although believed to be less influential.
All four fought in Mr Mugabe's guerrilla army during the war against white rule in the 1970s. Each has publicly proclaimed their support for the ruling Zanu-PF party.
They have also benefited from Mr Mugabe's seizure of white-owned land, with farms and business concessions falling into their hands, allowing them to amass considerable wealth.
The diplomat said after the first round of the election on March 29, Mr Mugabe, 84, "almost went" when it became clear that Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, had won significantly more votes.
But a pivotal meeting of the JOC on March 30 convinced him to stay.
"The generals didn't let him go," said the diplomat. From that moment, Mr Mugabe was "beholden to his senior generals to hold office".
Another source inside Zimbabwe confirmed: "He [Mugabe] was prepared to concede but the generals, whose positions would become uncertain with his departure, prevented that from happening," he said.
Other observers backed the diplomat's view that Zimbabwean politics had fundamentally changed.
Tiseke Kasambala, a Zimbabwe specialist at Human Rights Watch, said there was an "increasing militarisation of the state".
"The evidence points to an increasing role by the army in state affairs," she said.
"The army is no longer just in barracks, waiting to protect the country. The army is out there, taking a role in the day-to-day government of the country."
Mr Mugabe does not fear his generals will actually overthrow him they still need him as the regime's titular leader or he would not have travelled to Rome for the United Nations food summit this week.
However, observers believe Mr Mugabe's age and his new dependence on the generals means he is no longer the sole arbiter of Zimbabwe's fate.
Terrific. Another Burma. Or Minor Mahr, whatever.
This the way down to anarchy. Zimbabwe does not have far left to fall. I think the President of SA knows this and only allows it so that he can move in and pick up the pieces when the bottom finishes dropping out.
These thugs wouldn’t be classified as 3rd rate street punks in any American city. Yet they get to ruin an entire country, which was once quite prosperous.
Nothing wrong there that several hundred billion American taxpayer dollars wouldn’t solve, eh Mr. Obama?
What a surprise... corrupt generals stage a coup d’etat by stealth in thoroughly corrupt Zimbabwe, and Robert Mugabe the thrice-dam’ned dictator doesn’t even know it.
Pray for Rhodesia.
“Change you can believe in!” ??
This is where socialism leads. Redistibution of wealth, economic collapse, power vacuum, then military takeover. Change for the sake of change.
Say hello to the new boss...
Until someone takes the Mugabeasts head, he’s not dealt with sufficiently.
Junta or no, as long as he breathes, Rhodesia suffers.
Oh, never mind...
Burma in Africa. Is this the new template?
The Audacity of Hope
“They have also benefited from Mr Mugabe’s seizure of white-owned land, with farms and business concessions falling into their hands, allowing them to amass considerable wealth.”
Which has caused their nation to starve since the whites raised all the food. SA saw it too.
U.S., British envoys freed after Zimbabwe attack
(Mugabe backers-threaten to ‘burn’ diplomats alive)
MSNBC ^ | 6/5/2008 | MSNBC News Services
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2008 10:57:28 AM by Smogger