21 Nov Why did Zimbabwe's war veterans ditch Mugabe?

What finally led to the fall of Robert Mugabe on 21 November? The liberation leader turned authoritarian president was toppled by his erstwhile allies, the war veterans. So what sparked their divorce? Zimbabwe was plunged into chaos on Tuesday 14 November when soldiers and tanks were seen heading towards the capital Harare."There were soldiers at strategic points, no police to be seen, and that was a tip-off that something major was happening," Knox Chitiyo, an Associate Fellow at London-based thinktank Chatham House who was in Zimbabwe at the time."People were uncertain of what was happening and whether there would be a heavy police presence, a heavy military presence. People got home OK, because we called each other afterwards, but the absence of police told you that something major was happening."Zimbabweans long accustomed to seeing police roadblocks at every corner, woke up to find the military in charge and President Robert Mugabe placed under house arrest."It was extremely shocking," Miles Tendi, a Zimbabwean writer and lecturer at Oxford University, who specialises in civil-military relations, told RFI."Going on the literature, a coup in Zimbabwe was highly unlikely, so, when it came to pass, it took many of us aback, probably all of us, I don't think anyone predicted that this would occur."When is a coup not a coup?The military insisted it wasn't a coup and that they were targeting "criminals" within Mugabe's entourage, who they claimed "had brought the country to the brink of economic collapse.""But the speed at which events have moved, wasn't so surprising because the army was very aware that they couldn't let this drag on for too long."The country's political uncertainty was sparked by Mugabe's sacking of his former vice-president now turned president Emmerson Mnangagwa, allegedly in a bid to allow his wife Grace to take over.That was the final straw says Robert Besseling, Executive Director of risk firm EXX Africa."Mnangagwa has had links with the security and the military since the days of the liberation struggle. He played a key role in many of the military interventions in Zimbabwean politics, and the fact that he was removed was seen by those allies of his in the military as removing a key leader of theirs in the ruling party."But few had predicted that the internal squabbles of the ruling Zanu-PF party, would spill over to the army and set it on a collision course with the president.So how ...
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