A bloodless coup has taken place in the troubled African nation of Zimbabwe, as the notoriously cruel despot Robert Mugabe has been forced from office after a 37-year reign of terror that made him one of the most reviled heads of state in the world.
Mugabe, 93, ignored a party deadline to resign yesterday before reconsidering and offering a forced resignation today. The military had placed him under house arrest pending his decision. Mugabe has been in power since the country resisted British colonization. Formerly Rhodesia, it was a functioning nation considered the breadbasket of Africa. Once the colonists left, the country descended into chaos, even experiencing the ravages of hyperinflation.
With Mugabe finally out of the picture, the residents of Zimbabwe finally have some hope for the future. They are “jubilant” about the news, as freedom may finally be on the horizon for this beleaguered nation.
“People are really excited to see the end of Mugabe,” journalist Jeffrey Barbee said to NPR.
Now, a new ruler will have to be determined. Former Zimbabwe Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is considered a possible successor to Mugabe, and he celebrated the news of Mugage’s ouster as a victory of the representative political process.
“Parliament is the ultimate expression of the will of the people outside an election and in my view is expressing national sentiment by implementing the impeachment,” Mnangagwa said.
However, Mnangagwa has much of Mugabe’s same baggage as he was involved in shaping the disastrous path that the nation has pursued over the past several decades.
“Zimbabweans I know — I’m Zimbabwean — we’re ululating all around the world and we are celebrating,” journalist Michelle Faul said to NPR, “but we need to be cautious. This is not a revolution to bring reform. This is about an internal ZANU-PF coup to ensure that ZANU continues its one-party rule of Zimbabwe.”
The people of Zimbabwe must be careful during this transition period in the weeks to come, or they will likely be under the iron grip of another socialist ruler who will continue the oppressive brutal policies of Mugabe.