Meet the new ruler of Zimbabwe, no different than the last.
The Washington Post has verified something that this blog was noting some time ago. In a post on the crisis in Zimbabwe I argued that Mugabe seemed ready to negotiate a step-down. How nice of him considering he lost the election!
But I argued that: “The difficult point in negotiating a retreat by Mugabe will be that he has to bring enough of his military people with him. If too many are left behind, they will resist the settlement.”
In March I wrote that Mugabe’s regime “engaged in some genocide against the Matabeles. It is believed that his troops killed around 10,000 people in that massacre. The result was that the military was firmly committed to Mugabe. They fear that the election of anyone else would subject them to the courts for their executions.”
One of the major deficiencies in the American media is the lack of background for most stories. Journalists, for the most part, are too lazy to do the research. And this means that everyone has concentrated on Mugabe as the leader but ignored the role the military was playing. As I noted the military was firmly behind Mugabe because they feared that an other leader might put them on trial for genocide.
If Mugabe tried to step down, I stated that his problem would be taking his military people with him, into exile. If he can’t do that then the military “will resist” any settlement of the crisis. That was on this blog several months ago.
The new article in the Washington Post now tells us what went on in Zimbabwe, behind the scenes. They report that Mugabe called his “security forces” to his home and informed them that he had been soundly defeated at the polls. Mugabe was finally ready to step down -- as I suspected he might be at time. I also thought negotiations were underway for that step down to take place and assumed Mugabe would hide out in South Africa, where his chums in the ANC would take good care of him.
But all this ended when the top military official, Gen. Constantine Chiwenga, told Mugabe he had no right to make that decision on his own. Chiwenga led the infamouts Fifth Brigade and was trained by North Korea and the Communist Chinese. It was his troops that slaughtered the Matabele from 1982 to 1986. Chiwenga is a cold-blooded killer and he wasn’t going to risk another government coming to power and having to possibly face trial for his crimes.
Chiwenga ordered Mugabe to stay in office and ordered him to refuse to release the election results. Then Chiwenga sent his troops into the country to start slaughtering opposition campaign workers.
Another vocal opponent of Mugabe stepping down was Emerson Mnangagwa. He too was involved in the genocide and was known as the Butcher of Matabeleland.
Of course if you paid attention to this blog you would have aleady had a good idea of the role of the military in keeping Mugabe in power. And it is now clear that they are keeping his as their figurehead and that have taken control of the country. They order Mugabe about these days.
Photo: General Chiwenga, the man now pulling Mugabe's strings.