HARARE – Furious Zimbabweans have told the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) not to interfere with the country’s affairs following the military’s intervention in local politics this week which led to President Robert Mugabe and several Cabinet ministers losing their grip on power.
As a result, Sadc leaders have called for an extraordinary summit on Zimbabwe following the bloodless intervention by the military on Wednesday which also saw Mugabe being placed under house arrest.
Several kingpins of the Generation 40 (G40) faction who were the architects of Zanu PF ructions which led to the sacking of former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa from both government and the party, have either been detained or went into hiding following the military action.
Leading the calls for the regional bloc to stay away from Zimbabwean politics is a group which launched an online petition.
The petition on www.change.org had gathered over 25 000 signatures by mid-morning yesterday.
“The Zimbabwe Defence Forces is made up of Zimbabweans and the army takeover though not ideal is indeed Zimbabweans fixing their problems themselves. We are fully supportive of the army stepping in as they should have done many years ago.
“There is no need at this time for you to do anything but business as usual. We speak for many people when we say we hoped and prayed for this day for long and now that it’s here, don’t mess it up for us. If you love Mugabe so much you can have him all to yourselves, we will even throw in a 50-something-year-old lady as a bonus,” read the petition.
“We hope for (the sake of) Zimbabweans you will consider our request. If you take any action, you will be going against the Zimbabwean army and all the Zimbabwean civilians in and outside the country.”
United Kingdom-based lawyer, Tinomudaishe Chinyoka, also said that there was no need for Sadc and AU’s intervention.
“What has Sadc ever done for us? Has the AU ever cared about our Constitution? When elections were being stolen they said nothing. That too was unconstitutional. When people were tortured and killed, they said nothing. That too was unconstitutional. When justice was perverted and turned into wormwood, they sent accolades to their ‘old man’.
“And we suffered, and left the beloved land in droves. Our talent was scattered all over the earth. We run the health system of all of Namibia, with our doctors and pharmacists at every corner.
“And we want to go back home. Our talented people, those you do not appreciate and call criminals want to go build Zimbabwe. Thanks to the military. When we pleaded they (Sadc and AU) said go fix your country. Well, we are doing that, so Sadc and AU please, politely, shut up already,” Chinyoka said.
The country’s vocal labour body, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), said Sadc must consider the views of the Zimbabweans and not the interests of those who want to remain in power.
“Any decision must be reached on the unavoidable premise that the most important part of the solution is for President Robert Mugabe to step down immediately and allow the citizens to chart their preferred way forward.
“We implore Sadc to allow Zimbabweans to solve their problems without undue and biased interference. We also remind Sadc that when Zimbabweans complained about dictatorship and tyrannical rule of … Mugabe, they took a position that Zimbabweans must solve their own problems. The current situation should not be an exception, Zimbabweans must be allowed and given sufficient chance to solve their problems,” ZCTU secretary-general Japhet Moyo said in a statement.
Sadc and the African Union (AU) are not held in high esteem by suffering Zimbabweans who blame the two bodies for failing to act decisively on Mugabe on numerous summits which tried to deal with the well documented Zimbabwe’s political crisis.
Former South African President Thabo Mbeki came in for heavy criticism during his tenure as the international community and locals accused him of protecting Mugabe at the height of the economic and political crises a decade ago, by maintaining his infamous “quiet diplomacy”.
On Wednesday, at the crack of dawn, the military announced it had stepped in to stop the rot in Mugabe’s government.
“Following the address we made on November 13, 2017, which we believe our main broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and The Herald were directed not to publicise, the situation in our country has moved to another level.
“Firstly, we wish to assure the nation that His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, and commander-in-chief of Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Comrade R.G Mugabe, and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed.
“We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice.
“As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy. To the civil servants, as you are aware, there is a plan by the same individuals to influence the current purging that is taking place in the political sphere to the civil service. We are against that act of injustice and we intend to protect every one of you against that,” Major General Sibusiso Moyo said in his announcement.
Troops of soldiers were deployed to Mugabe’s residence known as the Blue Roof in Borrowdale where the veteran leader and his wife, Grace, were placed under house arrest.
A house arrest is the state of being kept as a prisoner in one’s own house, rather than in a prison.
Several Cabinet ministers linked to the Generation G40 including Finance minister Ignatius Chombo, were said to have been detained by the military in the early hours of Wednesday.
Talks to pave way for Mugabe’s exit are deadlocked but Zanu PF, war veterans and ordinary Zimbabweans have lined up activities today which could finally bring to end Mugabe’s 37-year dominance of Zimbabwean politics.