Zimbabwe's split opposition helping Mugabe's successor to victory

Zimbabwe's split opposition helping Mugabe's successor to victoryZimbabwe’s divided opposition could bolster the long ruling party’s chances of victory after failing to forge a solid coalition for the country’s first elections without Robert Mugabe. Twenty-three candidates –- the highest number in the country’s election history — are in the running for the presidential race after haggling over the allocation of parliamentary seats, scuttling a plan by the opposition to form a united front in general elections due on July 30. The main presidential candidates are Zanu-PF’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75, who succeeded Mugabe after a brief military takeover last November and Nelson Chamisa, 40, who took over as leader of the MDC following the death of opposition veteran Morgan Tsvangirai in February.


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New satire offers Zimbabweans a chance to laugh at Robert Mugabe

New satire offers Zimbabweans a chance to laugh at Robert MugabeFor the first time Zimbabweans can laugh at Robert Mugabe at the theatre without worrying they may be arrested or that the play will be banned. A new and daring comedy, Operation Restore Regasi, about the soft coup d’etat in Harare last November, has packed out the theatre. Audiences have been convulsed with laughter as they watch Carol Magena, playing Grace Mugabe, teetering around the stage trying to seduce Constantino Chiwenga, the army commander, while her frail old husband, Robert Mugabe, 93 at the time, is slumped in his chair, asleep. There was standing room only at the play, which opens with Mr Mugabe under house arrest in his mansion, and Mrs Mugabe shrieking that she wants to leave Zimbabwe immediately and go to Dubai, her favourite shopping destination. Charles Munganasa based his script on what he imagined the first couple would be saying to one another, and to Chiwenga, shortly after the army took power. Carol Magenga as Grace Mugabe, Khetani Banda (2nd L) in the role of former Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe and Charles Munganasa as Zimbabwe’s former army commander General Costantino Chiwenga Credit: AFP Ms Magena said she was having the “time of her life” playing the former first lady, who emerged into Zimbabwe’s political arena only three years ago and hatched a plan to inherit the top job from her husband. She said it was easy to portray Grace Mugabe, both physically and emotionally, as the former first lady so regularly appeared on state television. Profile | Robert Mugabe “She ensured all her meetings were on TV. She is unpredictable, erratic, volatile, even crazy. She said anything that came into her head. We watched as she dominated the media, getting people fired, insulting senior people. She was in control of Zimbabwe.” The play’s short three-day run was packed out and was extended this week. It closed on Friday but will tour Zimbabwe and South Africa. Munganasa said the play destroys Mugabe’s legacy: “He was lost within his own political camp and he thought he was untouchable and invincible and he surrendered power to his wife.” He called the play Operation Restore Regasi, because General Chiwenga cannot say L in English and uses R instead. The army’s campaign against Mr Mugabe was called Operation Restore Legacy.


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I was illegally removed from power, says Robert Mugabe

I was illegally removed from power, says Robert MugabeRobert Mugabe has denounced his former right-hand man’s ascent to president of Zimbabwe as “illegal” as he gave his first interviews since he was ousted in a soft coup last year. “It was truly a military takeover. We must undo this disgrace,” Mr Mugabe said of his swift removal  from power in November that saw Emmerson Mnangagwa installed in the first transfer of power in almost 40 years. Mr Mugabe told reporters in the mansion he built in the plush Borrowdale suburb, in front of a wedding photo of himself and second wife, Grace, that Mr Mnangagwa was in power illegitimately following a “coup d’etat” in November.  Mr Mnangagwa, known as “The Crocodile” during Zimbabwe’s early years of independence, took the reigns last year after a power struggle with Mrs Mugabe. He had been expelled from the country as Mrs Mugabe positioned herself to take over her husband’s legacy, but was spirited into the country with the backing of the military who put the Mugabes under house arrest in an almost bloodless takeover. Timeline Robert Mugabe as leader of Zimbabwe Mr Mugabe said his dismissal from power must be seen as a coup. “People must be chosen in government in a proper way. I’m willing to discuss, willing to assist in that process – but I must be invited,” he said. “I don’t hate Emmerson. I brought him into government,” he added of the former revolutionary freedom fighter. “But he must be proper. He is illegal.” Mr Mugabe said he was ready to engage with Mr Mnangagwa “to correct things”, adding: “We don’t deserve this. Please, we don’t deserve it.” Mr Mugabe said he did not watch the celebrations in the streets as his reign came to an end. Speaking of Mr Mnangagwa’s rise seizure of power, he said: “[By] not wanting to be democratic [Mnangagwa] has betrayed the whole nation. We are topsy-turvy.” Former President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe gives an interview to journalists Credit: Twitter Mr Mugabe, who served more then a decade in detention – as did Mr Mnangagwa – in what was formerly white minority ruled Rhodesia, came to power after a ceasefire negotiated under Margaret Thatcher. He led an often violent election campaign and won a massive majority in the first elections in 1980 which were supervised by thousands of British policemen.  But within three years of independence, violence emerged in the south of the country and several government officials and white farmers were killed.  Profile | Grace Mugabe Human rights organisations later investigated killings in Matabeleland where it was claimed about 20,000 died at the hands of government forces.  Asked about his human rights record, he said: “Some errors were done. They weren’t that bad in comparison to other countries.” Mr Mugabe’s nearly 38 years in power transformed Rhodesia, which had a well-educated population and sophisticated agriculture, to one of the poorest countries in the world, unable to pay its foreign debt. It abandoned its own currency in 2008 after years of hyper inflation.  Credit: PHILL MAGAKOE/AFP He denied running the country into ruin through economic mismanagement, including the seizure of land from white farmers. “Ruined? Of course no. If anyone compares… there is greater prosperity. People have their land.” He said he had resigned from his post because of pressure from his wife, who had sowed division as she set her sights on leadership. He now supports a new political party, the New Patriotic Front, which so far has only one known member, a former general in the Zimbabwe National Army, Ambrose Mutinhiri.  Emmerson Mnangagwa sworn in as Zimbabwe’s new president Mr Mugabe was beaten in elections in 2008 but in the second round, his opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai who died in February, withdrew from the run-off after hundreds of his supporters were killed.  So far Mr Mnangagwa has said that Mr Mugabe would be allowed to live well in his retirement and would be shown respect. But that attitude has hardened, “He (Mugabe) has jumped into the fray, so I suspect he is fair game now,” a well placed source close to the Mnangagwa administration said. Former first lady Grace Mugabe received a kiss from her husband during the country’s 37th Independence Day celebrations 2017 Credit: AFP Mr Mnangagwa has so far not said what the government’s intentions were about Mrs Mugabe and her unexplained wealth.  Mr Mugabe told foreign diplomats last month she “cried every day,” since he was obliged to quit. Their two sons, who live a fantastically wealthy life in Johannesburg, also contributed to the former first couple’s distress and poor reputation among the largely unemployed population.  Mrs Mugabe was wanted by South African police for attacking a young Johannesburg woman last August, but was not called to answer charges because she was granted diplomatic immunity which will be challenged in court in May. 


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Ex-Zimbabwe leader Mugabe calls ouster 'coup d'etat'

Ex-Zimbabwe leader Mugabe calls ouster 'coup d'etat'Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe described his departure from office in November as a “coup d’etat” that “we must undo” in his first TV interview since then, aired on Thursday. Mugabe, 94, spoke slowly but clearly to South Africa’s SABC broadcaster from an office in Harare, dressed in a grey suit, sitting in front of a portrait of himself and his wife Grace. “I say it was a coup d’etat — some people have refused to call it a coup d’etat,” said Mugabe referring to the brief army takeover which led to Emmerson Mnangagwa assuming power after Mugabe’s resignation.


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