Zimbabwe: Army entry into politics a step towards a coup
By Farai Mamina, zimeye.org
Commanders enter poll race. This was Zimbabwe’s first shocking headline of 2013. Over the ten-year period from 2000, the nation started experiencing the Nazi style installation of former military generals as chief executive officers and board chairmen of various public sector companies. After enjoying a literal no-contest of such wayward leadership, the communist dunderheads of Zimbabwean politics are moving a gear up – they are introducing a new philosophy of decorated army uniforms in parliament.
This is the first time in the history of African politics that hoards of top and middle level army personnel are publicly confirming their intentions to run for parliament while still serving as generals. The parliament is the legislature where laws/statutes governing a nation are proposed, enacted and coopted into the constitution. With Mugabe’s popularity at an all-time low, his gunmen suddenly need to be part of such enactment processes. The soon to be 89 dictator should be a comfortable “cat” undoubtedly pleased with the latest development. Perhaps it is even his idea being implemented, who knows?
One could debate it is their democratic right as legitimate citizens, fair and fine; but not so when they hold office in the military. Tenets of the current constitution’s Defence and Police Service Acts stipulate that a military or police officer vying for political office must vacate current office before taking up new roles in politics. Therefore, their aspirations can be enforceable at law only if they could trade-in their bloodstained badges for active politics.
Analysing closely why political urge has become such a gold rush in the army, one can safely deduce that they are strategically intensifying their plot to shield any form of change in political wind velocity. In this case, it is not just politicization of the military but an indecorous plan to easily topple the next government just in case it isn’t one of their kinds.
Currently, the commonly shared belief is that Mugabe’s rival and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will form the next government. In the event of a post election affirmation of the infamous belief, the army’s dirty plot of toppling him through a coup d’etat would supposedly not be a mammoth task. For logistical reasons, the presidential election is expected to coincide with parliamentary polls. As elected parliamentary representatives, the generals will be feeling more motivated than ever. Their new positions will somewhat trigger a feeling of champion arrival. They will be like Elisha riding on the chariot of fire resulting in excessive coercion characterising the beleaguered post election period. Everyone will be forced into submission as they move to consolidate power through the worst scenario of undemocratic means.
With the elected generals voicing concern of their right to direct the actions and behaviours in their ‘newly-won’ election territories, control on the ground will presumably be much easier. Divisions will intensify with fierce clashes between opposing sides thereby rendering the state ungovernable. The communist leader and his all and sundry will be in temporary hibernation at the behest of Chiwenga and his gun-toting gangs. Other Zanu PF fundamentalists will be trying to control the remote from their seized but unproductive farms with garden size irrigation.
Due to pandemonium and civil strife that will be ensuing everywhere, Tsvangirai’s conscience will force him to climb down as new president. That will be followed immediately by SADC and AU marathon talks. In the meantime, the latest military hardware possibly from China or Russia (or both) will be monitoring civilian movement. Suburbs, city centres, growth-points, Mbare musika, schools, churches, national frontiers, broadcasting centres, ivory towers, Chiadzwa and Chimanimani diamonds will all be under 24 hours surveillance. Even photographers of philanthropy will be on forced leave during this period of mysterious disappearances. Cheating husbands and wives will not have time to visit their ‘small houses’ (extra-marital relations).
The nation will be forced into curfews and free movement will be restricted to within one kilometre radii everywhere. Mobile cellular communication signals will temporarily be cut-off. Both long and short distance buses will not be allowed to ferry people as usual until stability returns. Tsvangirai’s Highlands mansion will be bombed several times with ZBC celebrating the news hourly. Nevertheless, despite a die-hard military stance, the traditional trend of installing an interim authority pending fresh elections will be widely expected from SADC and AU.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, generally perceived as more ruthless, or Sidney Sekeramai, the silent viper, will be the two Zanu PF front men likely to be imposed by the army as candidates for any form of authority. Whether or not such a proposal will fetch water in SADC’s well remains a wild guess. Any adherence to set timeframes for fresh polls will also be dependent on the winner of the bout between the regional body and Chiwenga’s gang. It will basically be a case of trying to implement diplomacy where the appetite for blood is too high.
For the masquerading generals, a coup will be considered an achievement as they will have created momentum for uncontrolled diamond loots. Should it begin to appear, the much publicised street gold predicted by spiritually ambitious UFI Pastor, Emmanuel Makandiwa, shall also find itself entering army pockets. Civilians will be every morning broom-carriers acting as ordered and sweeping together the precious mineral from the sky before any cessation of chaos. That scenario will exacerbate the resistance to a government headed by somebody not allegiant to extreme corruption tendencies.
Amidst heightened unrest, the United States embassy will likely push for the use of unarmed unmanned vehicles mounted with cameras. These will be used to monitor potential brutality towards helpless civilians in communities as opposed to their planned conservational use of filming poaching activities. For six months or so, Zimbabwe will for the very first time transform into a military junta republic thanks to the autocratic egos of opportunistic uniformed “parliamentarians”.
Eventually, the ‘successful coup’ will culminate in intensive regional lobbying. There will be many months of protracted debate, mineral looting and public waiting. A neutral transitional authority comprised of both sides and headed most probably by an agreed justice from the bench will be installed. Twelve to eighteen months down the line an internationally observed election will be agreed on.
Mugabe would have anointed another authoritarian, indicatively, the one using the 1934 claim as a personal campaign tool. The MDCs and Mavambo will be fielding the same candidates. It will be anybody’s wish that results of that election would for the first time since 1985 reflect a true version the electorate’s aspiration.
Eagerly awaiting the results, Mugabe will be on the brink of suffering a genuine heart attack or a Mubarak-kind of organised comatose condition. The purpose of the later will be to circumvent any possible arrest and nerve-wrecking probe. With his expectations not matching the outcome; unlike Mandela, the dictator will consequentially evaporate into thin air – perhaps.
Soon after, the dark forces hovering over Zimbabwe will begin to subside with her people being set-free. After all the said is done and dusted, Zimbabwe will end the chapter by writing history as a country which once had a dictatorship and a short-lived coup d’état during Mugabe’s era and the end thereto.
In order to avoid this “trouble” Chinamasa already forewarned of, Malians would advise that any new faces in leadership then should perhaps begin to ‘shunamite’ French forces and/or NATO into friendship now. Given the 2008 ‘Short and Long Sleeve Operation’ and the army currently masquerading everywhere as historians, such an undertaking becomes tactically essential.
Farai Mamina is an independent political analyst, information, PR and marketing expert based in Namibia. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Facebook.