Zimbabwe: Why has the military placed President Mugabe under house-arrest?
Zimbabwe has been witnessing some high-octane political drama in recent days. After its army moved to capture a broadcasting station in Harare yesterday, it has reportedly placed the country's controversial President Robert Mugabe under house arrest. The information was revealed by South African President Jacob Zuma who purportedly spoke on the phone with Mugabe. Strangely enough, the army denies this is a coup attempt.
What has happened so far?
The Mugabe government has been growing highly unpopular amid allegations over corruption and human-rights violations. Mugabe had recently sacked vice-President, Emmerson Mnangagwa over a succession row. In response, the country's Army chief General Constantino Chiwenga had said that the Army was prepared to act against Mugabe's Zanu-PF party to end the unwarranted purges within it. Mugabe, in turn, accused Gen. Chiwenga of "treasonable conduct."
Army denies this was a coup attempt
In a televised statement, the army clarified that it was targeting people "committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country". "As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy," the army spokesperson added. The army might have carefully worded its statement to avoid criticism from blocs, including the African Union.
Events over the past few days signify how domestic opposition ended Mugabe's unpopular rule. Mnangagwa, who was fired by Mugabe, enjoys popularity within the army and backing from sections of the Zanu-PF party. He is likely to succeed Mugabe, provided the army continues to silence Grace and Robert Mugabe. The events may further result in a likely split within the Zanu-PF party.