20 November 2017

Zimbabwe: Mugabe Flips Script, Absolves Army From Coup Claims

President Robert Mugabe has distanced the country's military from alleged claims of a coup as the siege on him and allies took a dramatic twist Sunday evening.

With all signs pointing to his forced resignation on Sunday, the wily Zimbabwean leader seemed to have flipped the script against his plotters, telling a shocked nation in a televised address that he was still around.

But as he did that, he was in with another surprise, that of telling the world that the military intervention which saw his house arrest from last Wednesday did not represent a challenge to his authority.

"The operation I have alluded to did not amount to a threat to our well cherished constitutional order nor is it a challenge to my authority as head of state and government not even as commander in chief of the Zimbabwe defence forces," said the veteran leader.

"The command element remained respectful and comported with the dictates and mores of constitutionalism true a few incidents may have occurred here and there but these are being corrected.

"I am happy that throughout the short period the pillars of state remained functional. Even happier for me and arising from today's meeting is a strong sense of congeniality and sense of comradeship."

His speech followed dramatic developments in the country's post-liberation history in which he was physically put under siege as military commanders demanded his immediate resignation.

The Generals accused the country's founding leader of protecting corrupt loyalists and presiding over failing leadership that has placed the country on the brink of civil unrest.

What followed were protracted negotiations behind the scenes with strong signs that Mugabe was either going to tender his resignation under pressure or risk being thrown out by force.

In the ensuing gridlock, cabinet minister and nephew to the world's oldest head of state, Patrick Zhuwao told the media the military intervention was a coup which was being disguised as an attempt to satisfy the people's desires to see the 93-year-old leader leave his job.

But events of Sunday evening shocked many when the Zanu PF leader told the entire world he would preside over the Zanu PF elective congress slated for December 12 giving him prolonged life at the helm of both party and the country.

The regional political bloc, SADC has called for a Tuesday summit to discuss alleged constitutional subversions by the military.

It remains uncertain if it will proceed given the swift turn of events in Harare.

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