In Summary
  • Zanu-PF kicked out President Mugabe and gave him until noon Monday to resign.
  • War veterans’ leader Christopher Mutsvangwa said Mr Mugabe was running out of time to negotiate his departure.
  • The fact that he no longer leads his party means the end is certain for his 37-year reign.

CAPE TOWN

Which is better: the Crocodile or the Goblin? Or is one just as bad as the other?

These are among the questions Zimbabweans are asking after the military took over this economically and politically troubled southern African country.

The “Crocodile” is Emmerson Mnangagwa, long-time associate of President Robert Mugabe.

He is inextricably linked with the notoriously inept, corrupt and violent rule of Zanu-PF since independence. His nickname in Zimbabwe is sometimes used as a sign of respect but more often a reference to the dangers he embodies.

The “Goblin” is the president, a new nickname derived from the recent prosecution of a young American woman for her social media comment about Mugabe.

On Sunday, Zanu-PF kicked out President Mugabe and gave him until noon today to resign as the country’s president or face impeachment.

EXPELLED

Party spokesman Simon Khaya Moyo said the Zanu-PF Central Committee resolved that “Grace is on the list of people to be expelled from the party”.

Mr Obert Mpofu, the official chairing the gathering, said the party had come together “with a heavy heart” and hailed the beginning of a new era, “not only for our party but for our nation Zimbabwe”.

He said Mr Mugabe had contributed to “many memorable achievements”, but that “Grace and close associates have taken advantage of his frail condition to loot”.

Before the meeting, war veterans’ leader Christopher Mutsvangwa said Mr Mugabe was running out of time to negotiate his departure.

“He’s trying to bargain for a dignified exit,” he said, following up with a threat to call for mass protests if Mr Mugabe refused to go.

Though Mr Mugabe technically remains president, the fact that he no longer leads his party means the end is certain for his 37-year reign.

Ahead of his meeting with generals to discuss his exit, Mr Mugabe was “wailing profusely” saying he wished he could speak to his first wife, Sally, and son Michael Nhamodzenyika who died in 1966 at the age of three, an aide said.

SALLY

“He is spending most of his time looking at an old photo of Sally,” the aide said. Sally died of kidney failure in 1992.

“He has been staging a hunger strike over his house arrest and is refusing to take a bath or speak.”

Will a Mnangagwa presidency, with Zanu-PF still in control of all organs of the state, be any better?

There is relief — especially among Zimbabweans who have fled the ravages of their homeland for the relative safety of South Africa — that Mugabe is about to become an ex-president.

It may be argued that it was Grace Mugabe, along with her “Generation 40” (G40) supporters, who triggered the bloodless coup.

There has been a purge, mainly of former fighters against white minority rule, which culminated in Mnangagwa’s dismissal in early November.

Because of his liberation struggle credentials and close personal ties to Mugabe, Mnangagwa was widely expected to be the next president once Mugabe retired or was rendered ineffective by age or disease.

RIVAL

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