Friday, June 06, 2008

Has there been a coup in Zimbabwe?

The Independent reports that the Joint Operations Committee (JOC) has taken effective control over Zimbabwe while Mugabe is away on his little Roman holiday. The JOC itself is a legacy of colonial rule (along with other little details like the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act that effectively subverts the entire concept of Zimbabwean legality) and is under the nominal authority of Emerson Mnangagwa - of whom regular Reptile readers will no doubt have heard.
The Independent believes, however, that the true head of the JOC is head of the armed forces General Chiwenga. This may very well be so, but given Chiwenga's outspokenly slavish loyalty to Mugabe recently, declaring that the army would never obey Tsvangirai for example, it is hard to see him in the role of coup leader.
The most likely outcome is that Mugabe, who placed Mnangagwa as head of the JOC as soon as he heard that he had lost the first election, has given the JOC free reign to create circumstances that will enable him to steal the election. The harrassment of British and American diplomats, the removal of aid organisations, and the continued violence against the MDC all point towards an obvious point: Mugabe will not allow an MDC victory, and will commit any act of violence he has to to prevent one. The rising role of the army and the JOC is evidence perhaps that he has ceased to trust in ZANU PF's absolute loyalty. Rumours of a coup are perhaps a little premature.

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