The five-minute story of Zimbabwe’s ‘bloodless transition’

robert mugabe zimbabwe coup al jazeera
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There are two words you’re going to hear a lot today: Zimbabwe, and coup.

According to numerous reports, Zimbabwe is now under the control of its military. President Robert Mugabe and the first family has been “detained”.

The latest wave of political upheaval comes after President Mugabe fired vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa earlier this week, who many believed to be his eventual successor.

This was also seen as a move to clear the way for Grace Mugabe — Robert’s influential wife — to take over eventual rule of the country.

Military members and some in ZANU-PF however, didn’t agree with President Mugabe’s decision.

Zimbabwe’s military chief Gen. Constantino Chiwenga spoke out against the decision on Monday, with ZANU-PF quickly responding by accusing him of treason.

The youth wing of ZANU-PF defended Mugabe’s decision.

“Defending the revolution and our leader and president is an ideal we live for and if need be, it is a principle we are prepared to die for,” said Kudzai Chipanga, secretary of ZANU-PF’s youth league.

But the situation soon escalated from a battle of tongues, to a show of force.

On Tuesday, tanks were spotted rolling into Zimbabwe’s capital city Harare.

Rumours of a forthcoming military coup then surfaced.

On Wednesday morning, ZANU-PF’s official Twitter account issued a statement suggesting that there had not been a coup.

“There has been a decision to intervene because our constitution had been undermined, in the interim Comrade E Mnagngawa will be president of ZANU PF as per the constitution of our revolutionary organisation,” it wrote.

Reports suggest that the military has now seized Zimbabwe’s state broadcasting infrastructure, and blocked off access to the country’s government offices.

Major-Gen. SB Moyo took to state TV Wednesday morning to break the news.

Emmerson Mnangagwa has reportedly been named as Zimbabwe’s interim president.

An unconfirmed account in the name of Mnangagwa tweeted this around 7am this morning.

Feature image: Al Jazeera English via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0, resized)

Andy Walker
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