Robert Mugabe Forced to Resign Amid Allegations of Corruption

Thought there was one Mugabe? Well, prepare for trouble, and make it double!

Griffin Sonnemann-Creed, Columnist

As the Zimbabwean president for 37 years, Robert Mugabe has been labelled many things, ranging from fairly and popularly-elected president to communist dictator. Yet the era of Mugabe’s presidential dictatorship may be coming to an end, as on Nov. 19, the Zimbabwean military has forced him to resign or face impeachment.

Hostilities between the military and Mugabe’s government began on Oct. 6, when both President Mugabe and First Lady Grace Mugabe attacked Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa during an official speech. After a short period of no major actions, Robert Mugabe fired Mnangagwa on Nov. 6, forcing him to seek asylum in the neighboring state of South Africa. The firing of Mnangagwa set off a chain of events culminating in the military intervention and subsequent coup.

Due to Mnangagwa’s personal connections to the military, originating in the original era of Zimbabwean revolution and independence, General Constantino Chiwenga and the rest of the military quickly objected to this sudden sacking of Mnangagwa, releasing a statement that referred to the sudden sacking as “treacherous shenanigans,” and that they were ready to step in to “protect [the Zimbabwean] revolution.”

Despite the repeated attempts by Mugabe’s government to dissuade the military from taking action, on Nov. 14, the military took control of the Zimbabwean capital of Harare and embarked on a spree of arrests, taking many political figures captive. Gunfire was reported at Robert Mugabe’s private residence. The coup ended with the military placing the Mugabes under house arrest, and with many major leaders under arrest.

After the coup, both military officials and members of Mugabe’s own political party, the Zimbabwe African National Union, (ZANU) took shocking action against him. According to the BBC, Mugabe was forced to resign from his office by Nov. 20. Despite these setbacks, in a private press conference covered by CNN, Mugabe vowed to stay in power, no matter what cost.

However, words were not enough. On Nov. 20, Mugabe resigned after the beginning of the drafting of impeachment papers. Mugabe was charged with the misuse of his powers to guarantee his wife’s future power, and being unfit to lead the country, with several witnesses attesting to his deteriorating mental and physical state. It is presumed at this point that Mnangagwa will return from South Africa to lead the country. However, at this point, nothing is certain in this volatile situation.