Published On: Fri, Nov 11th, 2016

Mugabe Succession: National Military gets involved

A British government linked think tank, Chatham House, has highlighted how Zimbabwe’s future is shaped and decided by the national army.

With so many questions and worries amongst Zimbabweans on the country’s political and economic direction, it is the Zimbabwe military who will decide what happens next, according to Chatham House’s latest details on country’s developments.

The security forces are widely seen as President’s last line of defence in the face of growing opposition and dissent. Experts say the involvement of the military in forging an internal political solution is critical.

Speaking at a Southern African Political Economy Series (Sapes) policy dialogue forum in Harare to discuss a report by Chatham House titled The Domestic and External Implications of Zimbabwe’s Economic Reform and Re-engagement Agenda, one of the co-authors of the document, Knox Chitiyo, said the military remains a key pillar in the country’s political matrix.

“I think the military will remain one of the key players in Zimbabwe politics whether we like it or not,” Chitiyo said.

“Whether we think it is a good thing or not, the military will be one of the key players. We need to engage with the military in terms of trying to stabilise the economy and in trying to stabilise the policy areas,” he added.

Specialist in African affairs at the US Congressional Research Service Nic Cook said that the military in Zimbabwe has unique political and economic roles and could be pivotal in ensuring an eventual peaceful transition of power from President Mugabe to a successor, both as a kingmaker and as guarantor of an orderly process.

While there has been widespread reports that, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, has influence over the military, a local activist Brian Kagoro view it differently.

He mentioned that no individual, apart from Mugabe, has unlimited influence over the military, not even Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is falsely believed to have the backing of the army.

“So when I hear anyone saying that Emmerson (Mnangagwa) or some other creature has control of the army I get a sense of incomprehension because I know there is no single person who for factional and personal advancement reasons can claim to control even the liberation movement component of the army,” Kagoro said.

Kagoro pointed out that most of the senior army officials are well past retirement age and were only influential because of President Robert Mugabe’s benevolence of extending their terms of office which he described as “serving precariously at the pleasure of the emperor”.

He also suggested that even those in the army have ambitions, some of it political power after Mugabe is gone.

“Every single man and woman in uniform has ambition, many of them educated themselves beyond master’s level to PhD levels,” Kagoro warned.

“Some of them fought hard battles in the Democratic Republic of Congo, they are real soldiers. They are not waiting to be ruled,” he added.

Recently, the country’s military leadership has been on the news attacking corrupt Zanu PF leaders who belong to different factions, a clear indication that the Zimbabwe military may play a crucial transition role when Mugabe finally departs.

Whether they want to lead or to be ruled in the post Mugabe era, No One Know

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