Monday, November 20th
The President of Zimbabwe, expelled by his own party, ignored the demand for his resignation by Monday afternoon. The now determined political group, ZANU-PF, on Monday promised to start the long and difficult impeachment process that has never been done before in the country.
Military intervention took place last week due to the firing of Zimbabwe’s Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who President Mugabe claimed was trying to undermine him to steal his power. Mr. Mnangagwa has been reinstated back into office and is currently leading the party through the turmoil. According to the New York Times, the two leaders spoke today however the military is doing their best to distance Mr. Mnangagwa from the situation as it may cause a negative light to be cast if he were to try to succeed Mr. Mugabe as President.
Sunday, November 19th
Last week on Wednesday, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe was taken into custody by military force and placed on house arrest. His party, ZANU-PF, gave the 93 year old ruler the ultimatum of resigning from his throne by Monday in order to avoid facing impeachment by Parliament. In a 20 minute speech on Sunday, Mr. Mugabe spoke of the need for change however remained silent on whether he would relieve himself from his position.
Who is Mr. Mugabe?
The independent Zimbabwean President, born to a poor family in South Africa, has reigned power over the country for the last 4 decades starting in the year of 1980. Mr.Mugabe, an educated man, started his career working as a school teacher which ultimately led to political activism. Between 1964 to 1974, Mr. Mugabe was imprisoned after being convicted for sedition, a term used to describe a rebellion against the current established order. In his case, Mr. Mugabe spoke out against his predominately white government, calling for a black led state that was independent as he. At the time, the place we know today to be Zimbabwe, was named Southern Rhodesia. After his release from prison, he took leadership over ZANU, his political party, and fought back against the government which ultimately led to peace negotiations, which then led to Mr. Mugabe to be nominated Prime Minister. of Zimbabwe, the newly renamed country.
What to know about Mr. Mugabe and his Presidential role?
Early in his leadership of Zimbabwe, Mr. Mugabe set off to expand education, healthcare, and the failing economy back together after the war. He built schools and hospitals for black people in addition to implementing a 5 year plan on rebuilding the economy which resulted in growth for the country. Despite his initial start and what the country saw to be good intentions, his leadership showed a sharp decline by the late 1990’s. Zimbabwe’s economy began to deteriorate and the country became poor. The ones who once voted for his leadership began to condemn him for his actions, such as seizing white land without compensation and refusal to help the impoverished parts of the country. Despite the growing distaste for Mr.Mugabe as a leader, he continued to win elections, which led to the belief that he played a role in rigging the elections in his favor. This belief led the United Nations to place sanctions on the leader which continued to worsen the failing economy. The country was plagued by unemployment, famine, and disease such as AIDs.
In 2005, however, Mr. Mugabe lost the presidential election to Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader opposing his party. Mr. Mugabe refused to give up his leadership causing thousands of injuries and dozens of deaths due to violent outbreaks. After a major collision between the two parties, Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Tsvangirai agreed to rule the country together in a power sharing agreement. Although the two parties agreed to rule together, Mr. Mugabe had done everything in his power to continue to have he the upper advantage.
What led to Mr. Mugabe’s removal from office?
The 2017 election for President of Zimbabwe took place in August of last summer in which both Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Tsvangirai when face to face for the seat again. Mr. Mugabe had a sweeping win of 61% while his opponent finished at 34%. Mr. Tsvangirai immediately argued that the President had thrown out thousands of early casted votes in his name in order to help win and maintain his power.
Not long after the election voted were cast, Mr. Mugabe made a strategic move to remove his Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, from his role, claiming that he was trying to undermine him to steal his power. According to BBC, Mr. Mugabe stated that “He went to apostolic church prophets to find out when Mugabe would die. But he was told he would die first”. The removal of the Vice President raised reason for alarm as removing him from office would leave Mr. Mugabe’s 52 year old wife, Grace Mugabe, the next in line to succeed him once he dies.
To be impeached… or not to be impeached… is that really the question?
The Zimbabwe party, ZANU-PF, recognized the crisis and quickly moved into emergency talks on how to resolve the issue at hand. The country knew that Mr. Mugabe would still remain president if they removed him from the party as the constitution protected him. Ultimately, the party gave the President the choice of stepping down by Monday or to be impeached by Parliament after the military expelled him from his leadership role. According to an article covering his speech, written by the New York Times, Patrick Chinamasa, the party’s secretary for legal affairs, said that Mr. Mugabe “hereby is recalled as first secretary and president of the ZANU-PF party.”
“In the event that the resignation would not have been tendered by midday 20th of November, 2017, the ZANU-PF chief whip was ordered to issue proceedings for the removal of the president.”
The country expected him to announce his resignation from office as he spoke from house arrest on Sunday, however he did not which has taken headlines worldwide by storm. The President spoke about future for the country that seemed to include his leadership as well as addressed issues that the country had been facing, stating that “I as the president of Zimbabwe and their commander in chief do acknowledge the issues they have drawn my attention to,”.
The country seemed to applaud his removal while disapproving of the speech made on Sunday, calling for the president to step down on his own. In the meantime, the Vice President that was recently fired, had been reinstated as the current leader of the political party.