The Zimbabwe coup

The Guardian reports:

Robert Mugabe remains in detention at his home in more than 12 hours after the military declared on national television that it had temporarily taken control of the country to “target criminals” around the head of state.

The move by the armed forces appears to have resolved a bitter battle to succeed the 93-year-old president, which had pitted his former vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, against Mugabe’s wife, Grace.

Mnangagwa was reported to have returned to Zimbabwe on Tuesday evening from South Africa, where he fled last week after being stripped of his office by Mugabe in an apparent attempt to clear Grace Mugabe’s path to power.

It is hard to think of a worst ruler than Robert Mugabe so this coup may be an improvement. From all accounts his wife would have been even worse, and it was his promotion of her than finally led the Generals to rebel.

One high-profile opposition leader said there was “a lot of talking going on”, with the army reaching out to them to discuss the formation of a transitional government after Mugabe steps down.

Negotiations had been ongoing for several months with “certain people within the army”, a second senior opposition official said.

The official said Mugabe would resign this week and be replaced by Mnangagwa, with opposition leaders taking posts as vice-president and prime minister. There was no independent confirmation of his claim.

That would be a good thing, if this leads to a government of national unity.

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