THAT Zimbabwe is on the edge needs not be over-emphasised given the ongoing political developments that have seen Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantino Chiwenga and his military team “step in” and take over control of all levers of power.
It is our hope that the “military takeover” remains bloodless and temporary, and that soon they should be able to hand over power to a civilian government in line with the country’s democratic principles.
In fact, because Zimbabwe as a nation has many contestations, a government of national unity to heal the citizenry wounds would be ideal to rainproof the country’s international image.
While top military officers have maintained that it’s not a coup, but basically a special arrangement to better manage the ruling Zanu PF party’s office politics that have run wildly out of control, we urge restraint on the part of the army and politicians to ensure that this phase ends peacefully and without bloodshed.
Clearly, President Robert Mugabe and his truculent wife First Lady Grace are culpable for all the ills bedevilling the country.
But, at 93 years of age, Mugabe could be a victim also like the majority of Zimbabweans, and therefore we urge the military to spare him for “goodness sake”.
According to Major-General Sibusiso Moyo, the army was not targeting the increasingly frail Mugabe, but criminal elements surrounding him. He also assured the nation that Mugabe and his family were safe and sound and their security was guaranteed.
Chiwenga had earlier demanded that Mugabe stops purges of senior party figures, including Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was dismissed last week from both government and Zanu PF.
It’s a given that observers both at home and in the global arena are closely monitoring the developments in Zimbabwe and might soon be tempted to conclude that it’s a military coup if power is not quickly handed over to a civilian government.
This cannot be denied given reports that the military has virtually taken over control of the State broadcaster, ZBC-TV, most streets of the capital and, most importantly, Parliament Building, Mugabe’s offices and personal residence.
It is our hope that the military’s “stepping in” is temporary as Zimbabwe has never been known as a military State and does not deserve such a tag. The sooner the army hands over power to a civilian government, the better.
Zimbabweans and the global community hope that this whole drama was a pre-emptive strike to stop Grace and her clique from taking pole position in the race to succeed Mugabe and that it will end soon once the contentious political issues in Zanu PF have been resolved.
Keeping the whole nation in suspense for too long might trigger unnecessary anxiety and eventually lead to anarchy.
However, the intervention of the army in a rapidly deteriorating and potentially lethal political landscape in Zimbabwe is welcome.
It is our hope that at last the military action will allow Zimbabweans to find their voice once again through a free, fair and democratic election sooner rather than later.
Zimbabweans are yearning for good governance, creation of an investor-friendly environment to allow development and fight against endemic corruption that has been anathema to Mugabe’s long rule.