Is this the end of Robert Mugabe’s political career?
By admin November 16, 2017

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Robert Mugabe, the long-term President of Zimbabwe, is currently under house arrest after a military takeover occurred to rid the government of “criminals.” The ruling party, Zanu PF, posted on Twitter than the ousted vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, will take over the party. Although the military said it was not a coup, it seems the end of Mugabe’s presidency could be close by after several recent political moves have widen the division between Mnangagwa and Mugabe.

Robert Mugabe has been the president of Zimbabwe since 1987 and was the prime minister from 1980 until his presidency. Mugabe became the leader of the independence movement after being imprisoned for 10 years by the white minority government of Southern Rhodesia on sedition charges. After being released, he went to Mozambique where he led an insurgency against the government under the Zimbabwe African National Union during the Rhodesian Bush War. After peace talks dismantled the white minority government, Mugabe became prime minister after an election in 1980 as the head of the ZANU-PF.

Mugabe has been criticized by the West as an authoritarian who has mismanaged the country. The president is believed to have acquired significant wealth worth up to billion dollars, with a large portion coming from real estate acquisitions. The president has also been blamed for the decline of Zimbabwe’s economy. The nation had one of the strongest agricultural sectors in Africa, but Mugabe forced white land owners to give up their farms to be redistributed in the early 2000s. This caused a massive famine that the central bank answered by printing money, leading to inflationary levels that forced the government to stop using their nation’s currency and adopting the US dollar in 2009. Mugabe also scared foreign investors when he threatened to take control over Western investments in 2010 and took over Zimbabwe’s mines last year in an attempt to nationalize the industry.

Last week, President Mugabe dismissed his vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, accusing him of disloyalty and witchcraft. Mnangagwa has had a long history in Zimbabwean politics and holds respect from the country’s military. The move to dismiss him was seen as a play to potentially allow the first lady, Grace Mugabe, to become president after her husband can no longer govern. Ms Mugabe has gained political influence in recent years under the youth wing of the ZANU-PF and played a central role in firing the previous vice president, Joice Mujuru. Although the first lady has significant political support by some Zimbabweans, she has also held the negative attention of being an extravagant spender, as her opponents consistently refer to her as the “first shopper.”

With reports that the former vice president has taken control of the governing party, and President Mugabe is under house arrest while his wife has fled the country, it is quite possible this is the end of the first family’s political career. However, the next few weeks will be a pivotal period in nation’s history, as supporters of the Mugabe family could denounce this power transition both peacefully as well as violently.

Further Reading:

Robert Mugabe’s Inner Circle Implodes

Grace Mugabe: Who is Zimbabwe’s fugitive First Lady and why has she fled?

Zimbabwe’s Mugabe Out Of Power For First Time Since 1980s As Military Takes Control

How Robert Mugabe killed one of Africa’s richest economies

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