Category Archives: Africa

(Economist) The new scramble for Africa

(Economist)

This time, the winners could be Africans themselves

Mar 7th 2019

The first great surge of foreign interest in Africa, dubbed the “scramble”, was when 19th-century European colonists carved up the continent and seized Africans’ land. The second was during the cold war, when East and West vied for the allegiance of newly independent African states; the Soviet Union backed Marxist tyrants while America propped up despots who claimed to believe in capitalism. A third surge, now under way, is more benign. Outsiders have noticed that the continent is important and becoming more so, not least because of its growing share of the global population (by 2025 the un predicts that there will be more Africans than Chinese people). Governments and businesses from all around the world are rushing to strengthen diplomatic, strategic and commercial ties. This creates vast opportunities. If Africa handles the new scramble wisely, the main winners will be Africans themselves.

The extent of foreign engagement is unprecedented (see Briefing). Start with diplomacy. From 2010 to 2016 more than 320 embassies were opened in Africa, probably the biggest embassy-building boom anywhere, ever. Turkey alone opened 26. Last year India announced it would open 18. Military ties are deepening, too. America and France are lending muscle and technology to the struggle against jihadism in the Sahel. China is now the biggest arms seller to sub-Saharan Africa and has defence-technology ties with 45 countries. Russia has signed 19 military deals with African states since 2014. Oil-rich Arab states are building bases on the Horn of Africa and hiring African mercenaries.Get our daily newsletter

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Commercial ties are being upended. As recently as 2006 Africa’s three biggest trading partners were America, China and France, in that order. By 2018 it was China first, India second and America third (France was seventh). Over the same period Africa’s trade has more than trebled with Turkey and Indonesia, and more than quadrupled with Russia. Trade with the European Union has grown by a more modest 41%. The biggest sources of foreign direct investment are still firms from America, Britain and France, but Chinese ones, including state-backed outfits, are catching up, and investors from India and Singapore are eager to join the fray.

The stereotype of foreigners in Africa is of neocolonial exploiters, interested only in the continent’s natural resources, not its people, and ready to bribe local bigwigs in shady deals that do nothing for ordinary Africans. The stereotype is sometimes true. Far too many oil and mineral ventures are dirty. Corrupt African leaders, of whom there is still an abundance, can always find foreign enablers to launder the loot. And contracts with firms from countries that care little for transparency, such as China and Russia, are often murky. Three Russian journalists were murdered last year while investigating a Kremlin-linked mercenary outfit that reportedly protects the president of the war-torn Central African Republic and enables diamond-mining there. Understandably, many saw a whiff of old-fashioned imperialism.

However, engagement with the outside world has mostly been positive for Africans. Foreigners build ports, sell insurance and bring mobile-phone technology. Chinese factories hum in Ethiopia and Rwanda. Turkish Airlines flies to more than 50 African cities. Greater openness to trade and investment is one reason why gdp per head south of the Sahara is two-fifths higher than it was in 2000. (Sounder macroeconomic policies and fewer wars also helped.) Africans can benefit when foreigners buy everything from textiles to holidays and digital services.

Even so, Africans can do more to increase their share of the benefits. First, voters and activists can insist on transparency. It is heartening that South Africa is investigating the allegedly crooked deals struck under the previous president, Jacob Zuma, but alarming that even worse behaviour in the Democratic Republic of Congo has gone unprobed, and that the terms of Chinese loans to some dangerously indebted African governments are secret. To be sure that a public deal is good for ordinary folk as well as big men, voters have to know what is in it. Journalists, such as the Kenyans who exposed scandals over a Chinese railway project, have a big role to play.

Second, Africa’s leaders need to think more strategically. Africa may be nearly as populous as China, but it comprises 54 countries, not one. African governments could strike better deals if they showed more unity. No one expects a heterogeneous continent that includes both anarchic battle zones and prosperous democracies to be as integrated as Europe. But it can surely do better than letting China negotiate with each country individually, behind closed doors. The power imbalance between, say, China and Uganda is huge. It could be reduced somewhat with a free-trade area or if African regional blocs clubbed together. After all, the benefits of infrastructure projects spill across borders.

Third, African leaders do not have to choose sides, as they did during the cold war. They can do business with Western democracies and also with China and Russia—and anyone else with something to offer. Because they have more choice now than ever before, Africans should be able to drive harder bargains. And outsiders should not see this as a zero-sum contest (as the Trump administration, when it pays attention to Africa, apparently does). If China builds a bridge in Ghana, an American car can drive over it. If a British firm invests in a mobile-data network in Kenya, a Kenyan entrepreneur can use it to set up a cross-border startup.

Last, Africans should take what some of their new friends tell them with a pinch of salt. China argues that democracy is a Western idea; development requires a firm hand. This message no doubt appeals to African strongmen, but it is bunk. A study by Takaaki Masaki of the World Bank and Nicolas van de Walle of Cornell University found that African countries grow faster if they are more democratic. The good news is that, as education improves and Africans move rapidly to the cities, they are growing more critical of their rulers, and less frightened to say so. In 1997, 70% of African ruling parties won more than 60% of the vote, partly by getting rural chiefs to cow villagers into backing them. By 2015 only 50% did. As politics grows more competitive, voters’ clout will grow. And they will be able to insist on a form of globalisation that works for Africans and foreigners alike.

(DN) A capa do racismo – José Kaliengue


(DN)

Nesta semana ouvi muita coisa sem sentido por causa da atuação da Polícia de Segurança Pública portuguesa sobre cidadãos angolanos no bairro da Jamaica, no distrito de Setúbal. Vi o vídeo e pensei em desacatos, apesar de o direito à indignação ser um inalienável quando os nossos direitos são violados. E reagir à pedrada contra a polícia? Não me parece correto.

Entretanto, por cá, em Angola, começaram a correr vídeos e áudios de pseudorreportagens feitas por angolanos (alguns jornalistas e apresentadores angolanos coincidentemente estavam por Lisboa), quase todas mais interessadas em denunciar um suposto ato racista da PSP do que em narrar os factos. E houve portugueses também que se alinharam. Normal, depois do fracasso das manifestações dos coletes amarelos portugueses. Há gente a precisar desesperadamente de uma razão para sair à rua e incendiar contentores, carros e partir montras.

Voltei a ouvir alguns áudios e percebi que tudo tinha tido início em cuecas que não gostam de ficar no lugar, caem, com homens ou com mulheres já comprometidos, e, obviamente, isto às vezes dá em confusão. Então passou-se de um assunto de cuecas, de meninas acusadas de andarem a colher em ceara alheia, e transformou-se num caso de racismo com apelos à retaliação angolana e a uma tomada de posição firme por parte do Estado angolano.

“Vivi em Lisboa muitos anos, sei bem como os tugas reagem ao negro, sobretudo ao mais desfavorecido, e sei bem como o negro reage a quase tudo o que não o favorece na relação com o outro: é racismo.”

Liguei a um membro do governo angolano para confirmar se tinha havido mesmo uma carta de protesto como até a imprensa oficial (do Estado) tinha noticiado. Bem, alguns colegas agiram emocionados, como se diz por cá. O alto responsável limitou-se a dizer que “a maka não é nossa, e muito menos os desacatos que estão sendo feitos, nem sabemos se são mesmo angolanos os que agora andam a fazer confusão”.

Posição acertada, a do Estado angolano, não é necessário arranjar mais makas numa relação tipo amor à italiana nos filmes de Ettore Scola. Há demasiada adrenalina.

A coisa é simples: Portugal ainda não conseguiu uma forma de inserção social das comunidades das ex-colónias. Há aqui algum “irritante racista”? Talvez sim. Digamos que uma “falta de vontade racista sem querer”, sobretudo para os mais pobres, porque os abastados, pelo menos de frente, “não são assim tão negros”. Talvez até seja mais uma questão de cultura, de encontro de hábitos e de costumes, porque ainda persiste a lógica do assimilacionismo em ambas as partes. É coisa muito forte. Aliás, entre negros em Angola este é um problema enorme que cria uma barreira que não se quer discutir. E em Portugal há também portugueses por assimilar.

Vivi em Lisboa muitos anos, sei bem como os tugas reagem ao negro, sobretudo ao mais desfavorecido, e sei bem como o negro reage a quase tudo o que não o favorece na relação com o outro: é racismo. Esta fórmula tem sempre um efeito psicológico importante, vantajoso. Quase que me atreveria a dizer que se tem em Portugal algumas pessoas racistas, num Estado que não quer ser racista, e pessoas que precisam de sofrer racismo para se fazerem ouvir. E todos, ao mesmo tempo, sabem que nada disso lhes resolve a vida.

Diretor do jornal angolano O País

(EUobserver) France summons Italian ambassador over colonial remark

(EUobserver)

The Italian ambassador to France was summoned Monday to explain comments by Italian deputy PM Luigi Di Maio. The leader of the Five Star Movement blamed French policy on colonial-era French African currencies for holding back development. “If people are leaving today it’s because European countries, France above all, have never stopped colonising dozens of African countries,” said Di Maio. French diplomatic sources called it “hostile and without cause”.

(BBC) In pictures: Portugal’s lingering influence in Zanzibar

(BBC)

  • 12 August 2018
  • Pemba, part of the Tanzanian archipelago of Zanzibar, recently held a week-long festival that revealed cultural influences dating back to the 16th Century when Portugal colonised the Spice Islands, writes Catherine Tilke.
Participants performing a martial arts dance

One of the highlights of the Pemba Bonanza Festival is “the kirumbizi”, a dance-cum-martial art, which has its origins in guerrilla training against Portuguese rule.

Portugal colonised parts of the East African coast in the early 1500s – and Zanzibar remained part of its empire for about 200 years.

Khamis Ali Juma, from the Pemba museum, says Pujini village – where the festival was mainly held – was one of the first areas to be settled by the Portuguese.

Men and women line up and take turns to 'fight' with batons while a band plays folk music

Women also take part in kirumbizi fights, which involve the use of batons with musicians accompanying the contestants.

Shoka Hamad, one of the event organisers, says that the game is a battle of strength and endurance.

“When you step into the ring, you take on challengers until you feel tired – the winner is the person who shows the most endurance,” he says.

“The aim isn’t to hit or hurt your opponent, but show off your speed and agility. It’s possible that players might get hit, but this isn’t the objective of the dance.”

Bulls also feature prominently in the festival.

Bullfighting

Bullfighting was introduced by the Portuguese, but it differs from the Spanish version as the aim is not to kill the animal, but to tire it out and entertain the crowd.

There is a belief that the spectacle brings rain and a good “mpunga” (rice) harvest, and so traditionally bullfights are held at times of drought.

Bullfighting

There has also been a romantic element to bullfights, with young women encouraging their lovers to take part to prove their bravery – although this happens less so these days.

A woman would choose a new kanga (a colourful cloth usually wrapped around the waist) for the fight and sit on a platform next to the arena to watch.

If her beau got through the fight unscathed, she would give him her kanga to keep as a trophy.

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A donkey procession through many of the island’s villages is also an important part of the festival.

Donkeys riders procession

The riders wear traditional dress and carry umbrellas, trotting behind a brass band.

Donkeys are used for transport and farming and their prominence in the festival highlights their important role on the island. The umbrellas are also thought to encourage a good rainy season.

Participants riding donkeys

From donkeys to bicycles as cyclists compete in a race from Mkoani, Pemba’s port town, north through the countryside.

The 87km route is gruelling- it climbs the island's highest slope and takes most competitors over 2 hours to complete

The 87km (54 miles) route is gruelling and riders must climb the island’s highest slope. It takes most competitors more than two hours to complete.

And they are greeted at Vumawimbi beach with much fanfare and dancing.

The cyclists finish at Vumawimbi beach with much fanfare. Here, women dance dressed in colourful kangas.
Alongside, men wearing white kikoi dance to entertain those who turned out at the finish line

The women wear the kangas and the men wear white kikoi (a woven sarong) as they entertain the crowds at the finish line.

The island’s first marathon was also held as part of the festivities.

Runners

And wrapping it all up is the “ngalawa” boat race. Ngalawas are traditional dug-out canoes of Swahili design with sails used by fishermen off Zanzibar.

Wrapping up the festival is an ngalawa boat race. Such boats are a typical Swahili design- here, a man climbs the mast to unfurl the sail which, if all goes according to plan, will send his crew gliding into first place over the finish line.

All photos by Catherine Tilke

(Economist) Angola’s go-to app for delivering live goats to your door

(Economist) In Africa, the gig economy can benefit rich and poor alike

African cities are tasty markets for food-delivery apps. The continent has 21 of the world’s 30 fastest-growing urban areas, where an expanding middle class boasts smartphones and spare cash. These cities also have hideous traffic, so it’s a chore to drive a car to a restaurant. But delivery scooters can slalom through jams.

These were the ingredients that made possible the rise of several food-delivery startups in Africa. Jumia Food delivers meals to urban dwellers in 11 countries. In South Africa Mr D Food competes with Uber Eats, an offshoot of the American ride-hailing app. Tupuca has been bringing meals to residents of Angola’s capital, Luanda, since 2016.th restaurants. Delivering prepared food still accounts for most of its revenue. The firm’s 140 drivers make 17,000 deliveries a month for consumers who spend an average of $40 per order. Since October, however, users of the Tupuca app have begun to see other options alongside pizzas, burgers and sushi. They can buy coal, petrol, fruit and vegetables. Or they can purchase live animals, such as chickens ($7 for a big clucker, $5 for a middling one), pigs ($124 and $103) or goats ($82 and $64).

To offer these animals, Tupuca has teamed up with Roque Online, a startup named after Mercado Roque Santeiro, a huge, open-air informal market in Luanda that was closed by the nanny state in 2011. Roque Online employs an army of runners who track down the best produce. They buy the goat, say, take it to a driver and, before too long, the animal is on its way to a party (where it will be slaughtered amid great jollity).

Erickson Mvezi, Tupuca’s ceo, says the new feature is “breaking down barriers between informal and formal markets”. Luanda has a sizeable middle class, plus plenty of expats and a rich elite. But it also has millions of poor people living in slums wedged between skyscrapers. More than a third of households have at least one person living by informal vending. Through Tupuca and Roque Online they can sell to more people.

In the West many people fret that the gig economy encourages insecure work. But in sub-Saharan Africa, where the informal economy is equivalent to more than a third of gdp, about twice that in rich countries, it may do the opposite. By opening bigger markets for vendors, technology may help them grow richer, one goat at a time. No kidding.

(BBC) Benin artworks: France to return thrones and statues

(BBC)

Three Great Royal Statues of ancient Dahomey (currently Benin, West Africa) are displayed at the Quai Branly Museum-Jacques Chirac in ParisImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionA report commissioned by the French president recommends that disputed artworks should be returned to their countries of origin

French President Emmanuel Macron has said that France will return 26 artworks taken from the west African state of Benin in the colonial era.

His announcement follows an experts’ report recommending that African treasures in French museums be returned to their countries of origin.

The 26 thrones and statues were taken in 1892 during a colonial war against the then Kingdom of Dahomey.

They are currently on display in the Quai Branly museum in Paris.

Benin officially asked for their return some years ago. President Macron said the statues would be returned “without delay”.

His office said the return of art to Benin should not be an isolated case.

The president “hopes that all possible circulation of these works is considered: returns but also exhibitions, loans, further cooperation”, the Elysee palace said.

A panel of experts, commissioned by the president to study the issue of African artworks in French museums, presented their findings to him on Friday.

Ousmane Aledji, director of the Benin cultural centre Artisttik Africa, told the AFP news agency he was pleased to see “a new form of cultural exchange” with France.

During colonial rule in Africa, thousands of cultural artefacts were seized from the continent by Western countries.

The official report states that most of the Africa collection in the Quai Branly museum – approximately 46,000 pieces – was acquired with some degree of duress.

France’s announcement comes as major museums across Europe have agreed to lend key artefacts back to Nigeria.

(Economist) What to do about Africa’s dangerous baby boom

(Economist) African countries do not need to resort to Asian-style illiberalism

THE 21st century, in one way at least, will be African. In 1990 sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 16% of the world’s births. Because African birth rates are so much higher than elsewhere, the proportion has risen to 27% and is expected to hit 37% in 2050. About a decade later, more babies will be born in sub-Saharan Africa than in the whole of Asia, including India and China. These projections by the UN, if correct, are astounding (see article). There is good reason for the world to worry about Africa’s baby boom.

The danger is not a Malthusian crisis, in which countries run out of food or farmland at some point in the future. It is true that Africa, although vast, is already a net food importer. But that would be fine if Africans were otherwise productive.

The real problem is that too many babies sap economic development and make it harder to lift Africans out of poverty. In the world as a whole, the dependency ratio—the share of people under the age of 20 or older than 64, who are provided for by working-age people—stands at 74:100. In sub-Saharan Africa it is a staggering 129:100.

In stark contrast with most of the world, notably Asia, the number of extremely poor Africans is rising, in part because the highest birth rates are in the poorest parts of the continent. On September 19th the World Bank reported that the number of people living in extreme poverty rose in sub-Saharan Africa between 2013 and 2015, from 405m to 413m (see article). Many African countries already struggle to build enough schools and medical clinics for their existing children, let alone the masses to come.

The experience of other countries where birth rates have fallen sharply is that the number of babies is determined more by parents’ wishes than by anything else. As people move from villages to cities, children become more costly, so couples want fewer of them. As they become wealthier, they have less fear that their children will die. So, on the face of it, economic and social forces should be left to do their work. Moreover, an odd chorus of leftists (who hate racism and Western meddling) and Christian conservatives (who hate abortion and some kinds of contraception) argue that nothing should be done.

The trouble is that the reduction in fertility—the number of births per woman—is happening much more slowly in Africa than elsewhere. Half of Nigerians already live in cities, compared with one-third of Indians. Yet Nigeria’s fertility rate is more than double India’s. Overall, the fertility rate in sub-Saharan Africa is dropping about half as quickly as it did in Asia or Latin America when families were the same size.

Four mouths good, two mouths better

African countries need not, and should not, go down the coercive route to smaller families once taken by India, which carried out mass-sterilisation campaigns, or China, which long enforced a one-child policy. This led to, among other horrors, large-scale sex-selective abortions.

Instead there are good examples from within Africa of how to make things better. These involve “small is beautiful” public-information campaigns combined with a government drive to get varied birth control to poor rural areas. Many African governments already have fine-sounding policies to promote contraceptive use, yet too few act on them. Where such policies are a priority, as in Ethiopia, Malawi and Rwanda, fertility rates fall faster than average (though they are still high). Just as many Africans leapfrogged from no phones to mobile phones, and from no power to solar power, so they can jump to innovations like self-injected contraceptives.

High fertility can also be tackled indirectly, by concentrating on the things that are known to affect it—above all, education for girls. Granted, many African schools are awful, with ill-educated teachers who rarely turn up. One way to change that is to encourage private providers, as Liberia has done. Better schools would bring many other benefits to African children—the living as well as the yet-to-be conceived.

(MDT) ANGOLA, PORTUGAL PUT AN END TO DOUBLE TAXATION

(MDT)

Angola and Portugal are due this week to sign a convention to end double taxation between the two countries, as part of a two-day visit to Angola that the Portuguese prime minister is due to start on Monday, financial newspaper Jornal de Negócios reported last Friday.

The newspaper reported that although Portugal’s finance ministry did not confirm that the agreement will be signed during the prime minister’s visit, the Angolan Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Domingos Vieira Lopes had already admitted the possibility of signing the agreement during Costa’s visit to Luanda.

“The agreement to avoid double taxation between Angola and Portugal is in progress and practically concluded,” the newspaper wrote quoting the Secretary of State for International Cooperation.

The Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, said the visit “will have a very important economic component because the commercial relationship and in terms of reciprocal investments of Portugal and Angola is very intense.”

Santos Silva said in Brussels on the sidelines of a NATO summit in July that Portugal and Angola will also sign the new strategic cooperation programme and meet with the Portuguese community in Luanda.

Jornal de Angola reported that the Portuguese prime minister spoke yesterday at the “Angola-Portugal Economic Forum: for a strategic partnership.”

The Forum is organised by Angola’s Private Investment and Export Promotion Agency (AIPEX) and its equivalent Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade of Portugal (AICEP). The Minister of State for Economic and Social Development, Manuel Nunes, is to to make the opening speech at the meeting.

The schedule shows that the General Investment Plan will be presented during the meeting, with contributions from the presidents of Aipex, Licínio Contreiras and AICEP, Luís Filipe de Castro Henriques, as well as a letter of intent signed to support the Development Finance Company (Sofid) of Portugal for a project of Angolan company Metalser.

O.P. (JN) João Lourenço “rasgou compromisso” com Eduardo dos Santos

…E do meu ponto de vista rasgou muito bem …

(JNEsta leitura é feita por Alex Vines, director do Programa Africano no instituto de estudos britânico Chatham House. Segundo este especialista, o Presidente de Angola “rasgou um acordo de compromisso” feito com o seu antecessor.

O director do Programa Africano no instituto de estudos britânico Chatham House, Alex Vines, considerou esta quarta-feira, 22 de Novembro, que a onda de exonerações em Angola demonstra que o novo Presidente “rasgou o acordo de compromisso” negociado com José Eduardo dos Santos.

“Ao fazer isto [a onda de exonerações dos últimos dias], João Lourenço rasgou o Governo de compromisso negociado com (José Eduardo) dos Santos por alturas da sua tomada de posse como chefe de Estado, em Setembro”, disse Alex Vines em entrevista à Lusa.

“O Presidente (João) Lourenço também demonstrou que a família dos Santos já não é intocável”, acrescentou o conhecido analista britânico, que é também director de Estudos Regionais e Segurança Internacional na Chatham House, o Instituto Real de Estudos Internacionais.

“A Sonangol é a principal mudança, mas as mudanças nos meios de comunicação social e nas relações públicas também levaram a demissões nos membros da família” do antigo líder angolano.

O Presidente de Angola, na última semana, tem-se multiplicado em exonerações nos principais cargos da estrutura de poder no país, desde a principal empresa, a Sonangol, até aos chefes de polícia e também na área judicial.

“A prioridade de João Lourenço foi a reforma económica, como a indústria petrolífera”, diz Vines, acrescentando que “o despedimento de Isabel dos Santos é parte desta estratégia que apontou aos principais pilares da economia angolana: o petróleo, com a Sonangol, a indústria dos diamantes, com a Endiama, e as finanças, com o Banco Nacional de Angola”, cujos líderes foram exonerados.

No geral, vinca Alex Vines, “isto significa que a família dos Santos vai ter de andar com cuidado e mostrar cada vez mais as suas capacidades tecnocráticas”, apontando ainda que “o erro de Isabel dos Santos foi que tinha pouca experiência na indústria petrolífera e subcontratou [a gestão] a consultores quando ela própria não estava preparada para se focar completamente na Sonangol até chegar aos últimos meses”.

O panorama para a família do antigo Presidente pode até piorar, considera este analista, salientando que apesar de José Eduardo dos Santos “ainda ser o presidente do Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA), está a perder força e com a saúde fraca”, por isso “não é certo quando o MPLA vai fazer um congresso para alinhar Lourenço como chefe de Estado e do partido” no poder.

“Quando deixar de ser presidente do MPLA, ou a sua saúde piorar, poderá haver mais pressão política sobre a sua família”, vaticina Vines.

Desde que tomou posse, a 26 de Setembro, na sequência das eleições gerais angolanas de 23 de agosto, João Lourenço procedeu a exonerações de várias administrações de empresas estatais, dos sectores de diamantes, minerais, petróleos, comunicação social, banca comercial pública e Banco Nacional de Angola, anteriormente nomeadas por José Eduardo dos Santos.

P.O. (BBC) Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe resigns, ending 37-year rule

P.O.  

Personally I wouldn’t hold talks with Mr Mugabe even on a choice of ice creams…

Got it?

FCMP

(BBC) Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has resigned, bringing an end to 37 years of rule and sparking jubilant celebrations in the nation’s streets.

A letter from Mr Mugabe read out by the speaker of parliament said the decision was voluntary and he had made it to allow a smooth transfer of power.

The news abruptly halted an impeachment hearing that had begun against him.

The ruling Zanu-PF party says former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa will succeed Mr Mugabe, in power since 1980.

Mr Mnangagwa’s sacking earlier this month triggered a political crisis.

It had been seen by many as an attempt to clear the way for Grace Mugabe to succeed her husband as leader and riled the military leadership, who stepped in and put Mr Mugabe under house arrest.

After the resignation announcement, lawmakers roared in jubilation.

Mr Mugabe, 93, was until his resignation the world’s oldest leader. He had previously refused to quit despite last week’s military takeover and days of protests.

Media captionScenes of jubilation on the streets of the capital

According to the constitution his successor should be the current vice-president, Phelekezela Mphoko, a supporter of Grace Mugabe.

But Zanu-PF chief whip Lovemore Matuke told Reuters news agency that Mr Mnangagwa would be in office “within 48 hours”.

Speaking from an undisclosed location earlier on Tuesday, Mr Mnangagwa said he had fled abroad two weeks ago when he learned of a plot to kill him.

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An untypical end

Analysis by BBC world affairs editor, John Simpson

Robert Mugabe in 1980Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Most people assumed that the only way Robert Mugabe would give up being president was to die in his bed. He probably thought so too.

In fact the last of the old-style 1970s and 80s liberation leaders, most untypically, resigned in writing. Perhaps that says something about the way the world has changed in the 21st Century.

No storming the presidential palace, no ugly end at the hands of a crowd like Col Gaddafi, no execution by firing squad like President Ceausescu of Romania, no hanging like Saddam Hussein.

Zimbabwe, in spite of everything Robert Mugabe visited upon it, is essentially a peaceable, gentle country. And despite all the immense crimes for which he was responsible, he is in some ways an intellectual, rather than a brutal thug along the lines of, say, Idi Amin.

He’ll be remembered for the massacres in Matabeleland in the 1980s, for the farm invasions of the 1990s and later, and for the brutal repression of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change when it seemed on course to win the 2008 presidential election.

The man who seems about to take his place, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was deeply involved in most of those crimes, yet people in Zimbabwe, like the outside world, will be so relieved to see Mr Mugabe go that they will be tempted to forget all that.

They’ll also forget the few unquestionably good things Robert Mugabe did. Zimbabwe, for instance, has an extraordinarily high literacy rate, because of him. But that’s certainly not what he’ll be remembered for.

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‘Let him rest in his last days’

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said Mr Mugabe’s resignation “provides Zimbabwe with an opportunity to forge a new path free of the oppression that characterised his rule”.

She said that former colonial power Britain, “as Zimbabwe’s oldest friend”, will do all it can to support free and fair elections and the rebuilding of the Zimbabwean economy.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai told the BBC he hoped that Zimbabwe was on a “new trajectory” that would include free and fair elections. He said Mr Mugabe should be allowed to “go and rest for his last days”.

In other reaction:

  • The US Embassy in Harare, the capital, said it was a “historic moment” and congratulated Zimbabweans who “raised their voices and stated peacefully and clearly that the time for change was overdue”
  • South Africa’s main opposition Democratic Alliance welcomed the move, saying Mr Mugabe had turned from “liberator to dictator”
  • Prominent Zimbabwean opposition politician David Coltart tweeted: “We have removed a tyrant but not yet a tyranny”
  • Civil society group the Platform for Concerned Citizens called for dialogue between all political parties, which it said should lead to the formation of a national transitional authority

Robert Mugabe won elections during his 37 years in power, but over the past 15 years these were marred by violence against political opponents.

He presided over a deepening economic crisis in Zimbabwe, where people are on average 15% poorer now than they were in 1980.

Media captionActivist and political candidate Vimbaishe Musvaburi breaks down in tears of joy

However, Mr Mugabe was not forced out after decades in power by a popular mass movement but rather as a result of political splits within his Zanu-PF party.

The leader of the influential liberation war veterans – former allies of Mr Mugabe – said after the army takeover that Mr Mugabe was a “dictator”, who “as he became old, surrendered his court to a gang of thieves around his wife”.

Both he and Grace, 52, are believed to be at a mansion in Harare.’

Mr Mugabe’s decision to finally resign sparked joy in the streets.

Media captionMorgan Tsvangirai told the BBC he hoped that Zimbabwe was on a “new trajectory”

“We are just so happy that things are finally going to change,” Togo Ndhlalambi, a hairdresser, told the AFP news agency.

“I am the happiest person under the sun right now, because I always believed that Mugabe was going to step down in my lifetime and it has happened,” human rights activist Linda Masarira told the BBC.

“And now going forward it’s time for the opposition to reorganise and ensure that we will have a government that cares for the people. And everyone has to be included.”

Presentational grey line

Robert Mugabe – Timeline of a political life

Grace and Robert Mugabe togetherImage copyrightAFP
Image captionPresident Mugabe was accused of preparing the presidency for his wife Grace
  • 1924: Born in Kutama
  • 1964: Imprisoned by Rhodesian government
  • 1980: Wins post-independence elections
  • 1996: Marries Grace Marufu
  • 2000: Loses referendum, pro-Mugabe militias invade white-owned farms and attack opposition supporters
  • 2008: Comes second in first round of elections to Morgan Tsvangirai who pulls out of run-off amid nationwide attacks on his supporters
  • 2009: Amid economic collapse, swears in Mr Tsvangirai as prime minister, who serves in uneasy government of national unity for four years
  • 2017: Sacks long-time ally Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, paving the way for his wife Grace to succeed him. Army intervenes and forces him to step down

Media captionMugabe: From war hero to resignation

(BBG) Mugabe Faces Impeachment as He Resists Zimbabwe Resignation

(Bloomberg) — Zimbabwe remains in political limbo after
President Robert Mugabe failed to announce his much-anticipated
resignation in a televised address and said he’ll preside over a
ruling party conference next month.
Mugabe deviated from his agreed-upon speech, and
impeachment proceedings spearheaded by his ruling Zimbabwe
African National Union-Patriotic Front will begin on Monday to
force an end to this 37 years in power, according to three
senior party officials who declined to be identified because
they aren’t authorized to comment.
Delivering the nationally televised address with the armed
forces commanders who took power last week looking on, Mugabe,
who is the world’s oldest serving leader at 93, frequently lost
his place and had to repeat himself.
“We cannot be guided by vengefulness or bitterness,” he
said. “Let us all move forward.”
Earlier Sunday, Zanu-PF central committee decided to fire
him as its leader and ordered him to step down. Emmerson
Mnangagwa, who Mugabe dismissed as vice president this month,
will be reinstated, take over as interim president and be Zanu-
PF’s presidential candidate in elections next year, the party
said. It also expelled the president’s wife, Grace, Phelekezela
Mphoko, the nation’s other vice president, along with several
other senior officials.
The ruling party’s decision to dump Mugabe came four days
after the military placed him under house arrest and detained
several of his closest allies — a move triggered by his
dismissal of Mnangagwa, 75. Seeing the likelihood of Mugabe’s
ouster, joyous crowds turned out in Harare and Bulawayo —
Zimbabwe’s second-largest city — on Saturday to celebrate.
“It’s not clear what happened but we are proceeding
tomorrow,” Chris Mutsvanga, the head of the Zimbabwe War
Veterans Association, said in reference to the planned
impeachment proceedings in parliament. “Mugabe is deaf to the
people of Zimbabwe. The people are 100 percent behind removing
him.”
The political crisis comes at a time when the economy is in
free-fall. An estimated 95 percent of the workforce is
unemployed, public infrastructure is crumbling and about 3
million Zimbabweans have gone into exile.
“We all thought he was going to resign. Then it became
clear he was disassociating himself from this and was
positioning himself as the answer to Zimbabwe’s problems,” Nic
Cheeseman, professor of democracy at the University of
Birmingham in the U.K., said by phone from Harare. “This might
be a last gambit by Mugabe. It’s unclear why the military
allowed him to make this speech.”

(NYT) Behind Mugabe’s Rapid Fall: A Firing, a Feud and a First Lady

(NYT)

President Robert Mugabe inspecting an honor guard at a Heroes Day event held at National Heroes Acre in Zimbabwe in August. CreditJekesai Njikizana/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

HARARE, Zimbabwe — The rapid fall of Zimbabwe’s president, whose legendary guile and ruthlessness helped him outmaneuver countless adversaries over nearly four decades, probably has surprised no one more than Robert Mugabe himself.

For years, he was so confident of his safety — and his potency — that he took monthlong vacations away from Zimbabwe after Christmas, never facing any threat during his long, predictable absences. Even at 93, his tight grip on the country’s ruling party and his control over the military made his power seem impervious to question.

But in just a matter of days, Mr. Mugabe, who ruled his nation since independence in 1980, was largely stripped of his authority, even as he still clung to the presidency.

In a much-anticipated speech on Sunday night, Mr. Mugabe, instead of announcing his resignation as most of the country had expected, stunned Zimbabwe by refusing to say he was stepping down. While he conceded that his country was “going through a difficult patch,” he gave no sign that he recognized, or accepted, how severely the ground had shifted under him in such a short time.

Earlier in the day, the governing ZANU-PF party, over which he had always exercised total domination, expelled Mr. Mugabe as leader, with cheers and dancing erupting after the vote. He was given a deadline of noon on Monday to resign or face impeachment by Parliament.Just days earlier, on Wednesday, soldiers put him under house arrest, and his 52-year-old wife, Grace Mugabe, whose ambition to succeed him contributed to his downfall, has not been seen in public since.

Photo

Christopher Mutsvangwa, center, head of the war veterans association, celebrated the dismissal of the president of the ruling ZANU-PF party on Sunday in Harare.CreditJekesai Njikizana/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

But in his speech, Mr. Mugabe even declared that he would preside over his governing party’s congress in a few weeks. After 37 years in control of the nation, he was refusing to let go easily.

A Fateful Firing

The chain of events leading to Mr. Mugabe’s downfall started on Nov. 6, when he fired his vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, a close ally of the military, and then tried to arrest the nation’s top military commander a few days later. Mr. Mugabe had finally come down against the military and its political allies in a long-running feud inside the governing party.

“He crossed the red line, and we couldn’t allow that to continue,” said Douglas Mahiya, a leader of the war veterans’ association, a group that has acted as the military’s proxy in the country’s political battles while allowing uniformed generals to remain publicly neutral.

A few hours after he was fired, Mr. Mnangagwa, fearing arrest, fled with a son into neighboring Mozambique, where he has strong military ties. He eventually made his way to South Africa, allies said.

July Moyo, a close ally of Mr. Mnangagwa, said the vice president had prepared himself for the possibility of being fired. “He accepted that things can turn very bad, so he had conditioned himself,” Mr. Moyo said.

Several hours before the vice president escaped to Mozambique, Christopher Mutsvangwa, the head of the war veterans’ association and one of Mr. Mnangagwa’s closest allies, had boarded a plane to South Africa.

Over the following days, Mr. Mutsvangwa met with South African intelligence officers, he said, warning them of a possible military intervention in Zimbabwe. He said he had tried to persuade South African officials not to describe any intervention as a “coup” — an important concession to get from South Africa, the regional power.

Though this account could not be verified with South African officials on Sunday, the South African government did not mention the word “coup” in its official statement after the military intervention occurred on Wednesday.

“I knew that the way they were driving, the military, inevitably, there would be one at one stage or another,” Mr. Mutsvangwa said, referring to a military intervention.

While Mr. Mutsvangwa worked on South African officials, Zimbabwe’s longtime top military commander, Gen. Constantino Chiwenga, was in China on an official trip. He was tipped off while abroad that Mr. Mugabe had ordered him arrested upon his return home, according to several people close to the military. The police were going to grab the general as soon as his plane touched down, on Nov. 12.

But as General Chiwenga prepared to land, soldiers loyal to him infiltrated the airport. His troops — wearing the uniforms of baggage handlers — surprised and quickly overwhelmed the police. Before departing, the general is said to have told the police officers that he would “deal” with their commander, a Mugabe loyalist.

Within just a couple of days, tanks had rumbled into the capital and soldiers had effectively deposed Mr. Mugabe.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, center, arriving at a funeral ceremony at the National Heroes Acre in Harare in January. CreditJekesai Njikizana/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Fierce Infighting

The president’s decision to fire his vice president and arrest the general was the culmination of a long — and increasingly vicious and personal — battle inside ZANU-PF, the party that has controlled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980. The so-called Lacoste faction was led by Mr. Mnangagwa, whose nickname is the Crocodile, and was backed by the military and war veterans.

The rival faction was led by the president’s wife and supported by the police, whose loyalty Mr. Mugabe had ensured by, among other moves, naming a nephew to a top command. This faction included mostly younger politicians with no experience in the war of liberation and was christened Generation 40, or G-40, by Jonathan Moyo, a fearless, extremely ambitious politician widely regarded as the mastermind behind this group.

As Lacoste and G-40 fought each other to eventually succeed Mr. Mugabe, the president did not give either side his declaration of support. To both factions, the biggest factor was Mr. Mugabe’s age and increasingly visible frailty. It was only a matter of time before “nature will take its course” and “the old man goes,” as the political class said.

Time was on Lacoste’s side. Once nature did take its course, power would naturally slip to Mr. Mnangagwa and his military backers, they believed.

Mr. Mnangagwa remained largely quiet, refraining from responding to attacks, and treated Mr. Mugabe with extreme deference. Whenever Mr. Mugabe flew home from a trip, state media invariably showed Mr. Mnangagwa greeting the president on the tarmac, displaying an almost obsequious smile and body language.

To the younger members in G-40, time was against them. Their biggest asset, Mrs. Mugabe, would lose all value once her husband died. So they were in a rush to get a transfer of power while Mr. Mugabe was still alive.

Delegates at the extraordinary ZANU-PF party central committee meeting in Harare on Sunday.CreditAaron Ufumeli/European Pressphoto Agency

Just a few months ago, Mr. Moyo confided in a friend that he was “less than confident” about G-40’s standing with the president. Despite his efforts to win over the president through Mrs. Mugabe, Mr. Moyo still remained unsure about the “old man’s standing vis-à-vis Mnangagwa and Chiwenga,” said the friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the conversation had been private.

“He felt he had to disqualify Mnangagwa very soon because the old man was still tentative,” the friend said.

The First Lady and the Fall

Mr. Mugabe’s downfall was rooted in his wife’s decision to become a political force in mid-2014, most politicians and experts believe.

“Mrs. Mugabe’s entry into politics caused elite rupture in Zimbabwe,” said Tendai Biti, a lawyer, opposition politician and former finance minister in a coalition government a few years ago. “This coup was the result of a disagreement between people eating at the same table, whereas most coups in Africa are done by people eating under the table and receiving crumbs.”

Why Mrs. Mugabe, now 52, suddenly dove into politics is not exactly clear. Married for decades to Mr. Mugabe, she had been known as “Gucci Grace,” someone interested in shopping and leading a lavish lifestyle. She was a typist in the presidential pool when she and Mr. Mugabe began an affair while the president’s first wife, Sally, was dying of cancer. Unlike the much-beloved first wife, the second Mrs. Mugabe was widely disliked among Zimbabweans.

Some politicians and experts point to the hand of Mr. Moyo, the originator of the G-40 name, for Mrs. Mugabe’s political intentions.

In ZANU-PF’s ever-shifting alliances, Mr. Moyo had a checkered past. In 2004, he was expelled from the party after planning a power play with — critically — none other than Mr. Mnangagwa himself, who managed to escape politically unscathed. Feeling betrayed by Mr. Mnangagwa, Mr. Moyo vowed never to work with him again, setting off a decade-long feud that fed into the recent military takeover.

Mr. Moyo, reportedly admired by Mr. Mugabe for his intelligence, was rehabilitated, rejoined the party and was given ministerial positions in the cabinet.

But in June 2014, Mr. Moyo was again on the outs. At a funeral for a party stalwart at National Heroes Acre, a burial ground and national monument in Harare, the capital, Mr. Mugabe criticized Mr. Moyo for causing dissension in the party. The president referred to him as a “weevil” — an insect that eats corn, Zimbabwe’s staple food, from the inside.

“Even in ZANU-PF, we have the weevils,” the president said. “But should we keep them? No.”

To secure his survival, Mr. Moyo urged Mrs. Mugabe to enter politics, according to politicians, friends and analysts.

“He preyed on her fears,” said Dewa Mavhinga, a Zimbabwe researcher for Human Rights Watch, referring to Mr. Moyo. “You’re a young wife with an old husband in his sunset moments. You have to guarantee your future. You need people who are loyal to you. And who better to protect your interests than yourself.”

Very rapidly, Mrs. Mugabe and her allies orchestrated the removal of rivals, including Joice Mujuru, a vice president, as well as Mr. Mutsvangwa, who had been Mr. Mugabe’s minister of war veterans affairs.

The wife of the new president of the ZANU-PF party, Auxilia Mnangagwa, was congratulated on her reinstatement to the party on Sunday in Harare. CreditJekesai Njikizana/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

But even as the president’s medical trips to Singapore were getting increasingly frequent, he was not making a final decision on his succession.

Time was running out.

And so, Mr. Moyo, shortly after expressing his growing frustrations to his friend, appeared to go for broke. In July, in a meeting of party leaders, he launched a direct attack on Mr. Mnangagwa, presenting a 72-minute video said to show his rival’s duplicity and desire to topple the president.

At the same time, Mrs. Mugabe intensified her faction’s attacks, describing Mr. Mnangagwa as a “coward” and “coup plotter.”

At a rally in the city of Bulawayo early this month, some youths, presumably from the rival Lacoste faction, began heckling Mrs. Mugabe, calling her a “thief.”

“If you were paid to boo me, go ahead,” she said. “I am the first lady, and I will stand for the truth. Bring the soldiers and let them shoot me.”

The heckling visibly angered Mr. Mugabe, who immediately accused Mr. Mnangagwa of being behind it.

“Did I err in appointing Mr. Mnangagwa as my deputy?” the president said. “If I erred, I will drop him even tomorrow.”

Two days later, he fired Mr. Mnangagwa, opening the path for Mrs. Mugabe to become vice president and, once nature took its course, her husband’s successor.

Mrs. Mugabe and her allies had finally won. But the victory would soon prove Pyrrhic.

As the Lacoste faction solidified the takedown of Mr. Mugabe, party officials on Sunday removed Mrs. Mugabe as head of the ZANU-PF Women’s League and barred her from the party for life. Mr. Moyo, too, was barred forever. Mr. Mugabe’s second vice president, Phelekezela Mphoko, who had served for three years, was fired.

The ending was much sweeter for Mr. Mnangagwa: On Sunday, the party named him as its new leader.

(CNN) People for sale: Where lives are auctioned for $400

(CNN)

Exclusive: Migrants being sold as 'slaves'
Exclusive: Migrants being sold as 'slaves'

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) — “Eight hundred,” says the auctioneer. “900 … 1,000 … 1,100 …” Sold. For 1,200 Libyan dinars — the equivalent of $800.

Not a used car, a piece of land, or an item of furniture. Not “merchandise” at all, but two human beings.

One of the unidentified men being sold in the grainy cell phone video obtained by CNN is Nigerian. He appears to be in his twenties and is wearing a pale shirt and sweatpants.
He has been offered up for sale as one of a group of “big strong boys for farm work,” according to the auctioneer, who remains off camera. Only his hand — resting proprietorially on the man’s shoulder — is visible in the brief clip.
After seeing footage of this slave auction, CNN worked to verify its authenticity and traveled to Libya to investigate further.

Carrying concealed cameras into a property outside the capital of Tripoli last month, we witness a dozen people go “under the hammer” in the space of six or seven minutes.
“Does anybody need a digger? This is a digger, a big strong man, he’ll dig,” the salesman, dressed in camouflage gear, says. “What am I bid, what am I bid?”

Buyers raise their hands as the price rises, “500, 550, 600, 650 …” Within minutes it is all over and the men, utterly resigned to their fate, are being handed over to their new “masters.”
After the auction, we met two of the men who had been sold. They were so traumatized by what they’d been through that they could not speak, and so scared that they were suspicious of everyone they met.

Crackdown on smugglers

Each year, tens of thousands of people pour across Libya’s borders. They’re refugees fleeing conflict or economic migrants in search of better opportunities in Europe.
Most have sold everything they own to finance the journey through Libya to the coast and the gateway to the Mediterranean.

But a recent clampdown by the Libyan coastguard means fewer boats are making it out to sea, leaving the smugglers with a backlog of would-be passengers on their hands.
So the smugglers become masters, the migrants and refugees become slaves.
Migrants rescued from the Mediterranean arrive at a naval base in Tripoli in October.

The evidence filmed by CNN has now been handed over to the Libyan authorities, who have promised to launch an investigation.
First Lieutenant Naser Hazam of the government’s Anti-Illegal Immigration Agency in Tripoli told CNN that although he had not witnessed a slave auction, he acknowledged that organized gangs are operating smuggling rings in the country.
“They fill a boat with 100 people, those people may or may not make it,” Hazam says. “(The smuggler) does not care as long as he gets the money, and the migrant may get to Europe or die at sea.”
“The situation is dire,” Mohammed Abdiker, the director of operation and emergencies for the International Organization for Migration, said in a statementafter returning from Tripoli in April. “Some reports are truly horrifying and the latest reports of ‘slave markets’ for migrants can be added to a long list of outrages.”
The auctions take place in a seemingly normal town in Libya filled with people leading regular lives. Children play in the street; people go to work, talk to friends and cook dinners for their families.
But inside the slave auctions it’s like we’ve stepped back in time. The only thing missing is the shackles around the migrants’ wrists and ankles.

Deportation ‘back to square one’

Anes Alazabi is a supervisor at a detention center in Tripoli for migrants that are due to be deported. He says he’s heard “a lot of stories” about the abuse carried out by smugglers.
The Treeq Alsika Migrant Detention Center in Tripoli, where some migrants are held by Libyan authorities before they are repatriated.

“I’m suffering for them. What I have seen here daily, believe me, it makes me feel pain for them,” he says. “Every day I can hear a new story from people. You have to listen to all of them. It’s their right to deliver their voices.”

One of the detained migrants, a young man named Victory, says he was sold at a slave auction. Tired of the rampant corruption in Nigeria’s Edo state, the 21-year-old fled home and spent a year and four months — and his life savings — trying to reach Europe.
He made it as far as Libya, where he says he and other would-be migrants were held in grim living conditions, deprived of food, abused and mistreated by their captors.
“If you look at most of the people here, if you check your bodies, you see the marks. They are beaten, mutilated.”

When his funds ran out, Victory was sold as a day laborer by his smugglers, who told him that the profit made from the transactions would serve to reduce his debt. But after weeks of being forced to work, Victory was told the money he’d been bought for wasn’t enough. He was returned to his smugglers, only to be re-sold several more times.
The smugglers also demanded ransom payments from Victory’s family before eventually releasing him.
Nigerian migrant: 'I was sold'

“I spent a million-plus [Nigerian naira, or $2,780],” he tells CNN from the detention center, where he is waiting to be sent back to Nigeria. “My mother even went to a couple villages, borrowing money from different couriers to save my life.”

As the route through north Africa becomes increasingly fraught, many migrants have relinquished their dreams of ever reaching European shores. This year, more than 8,800 individuals have opted to voluntarily return home on repatriation flights organized by the IOM.

While many of his friends from Nigeria have made it to Europe, Victory is resigned to returning home empty-handed.

“I could not make it, but I thank God for the life of those that make it,” he says.
“I’m not happy,” he adds. “I go back and start back from square one. It’s very painful. Very painful.”

(BBG) A Half-Hearted Coup, Extending Zimbabwe’s Reign of Terror

(BBG) Leadership is likely to fall to the corrupt first lady or the president’s vicious deputy.

If there were justice in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe would be removed from power by a free and fair election. The promise of the independence struggle Mugabe led 40 years ago could finally be fulfilled. The country he ruined could begin the long process of recovery.

Zimbabwe is a basket case of a nation, but its ruling regime does have an opposition, and it has had elections. In 2009, Zimbabweans came close to a decent end to their national nightmare when Mugabe agreed to share power with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, the man who likely won the election in 2008. And for a period it worked. But then in 2013, Mugabe stole the election again. Tsvangirai left the government, Mugabe accused him of treason, and Zimbabwe continued to spiral.

Today it looks like Mugabe is finally out. The military leaders who ousted him say he is safe and secure. South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, said Wednesday that he had spoken with the 93-year-old Mugabe, who said that he was safe and confined to his home.

Getting rid of Mugabe is a good thing. He was a tyrant in senescence, known for falling asleep in government meetings. (North Koreans would call him a “dotard.”) But the military coup that unseated him shows no signs of ending Zimbabwe’s political and economic decline. This is not a moment of hope like the 2009 power sharing agreement was. It is really a power struggle between his wife and former typist, Grace Mugabe, and his former vice president and all-around enforcer, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Consider the context of this week’s coup. Last week Robert Mugabe stripped Mnangagwa of his position as vice president, and his government accused him of disloyalty and deceit. This was largely seen as a way to clear the path to power for Grace Mugabe, who has been positioning to take over the country herself after her husband finally died.

Now consider the statement from Maj. Gen. S. B. Moyo, the chief of staff to the military, in the aftermath of the coup. He said the military was not assuming political power from the deposed leader. “We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice,” he said.

That statement was almost definitely directed at Grace Mugabe. Among the ruling elite, she has earned the moniker, “Gucci Grace” for her expensive shopping sprees. Earlier this year she used her diplomatic immunity in South Africa to avoid charges from the police for assaulting a model with an electric plug. (Zimbabwe’s first lady pulled a similar maneuver in 2009 when she was accused, along with her bodyguards, of assaulting a photographer.)

None of this is to say Mnangagwa is better. His nickname is “the Crocodile,” because that is the symbol of his family and clan. But he has himself acted like something of a swamp monster during his years by Mugabe’s side. Some of the highlights of his brutality include overseeing the crackdown on Mugabe’s political opposition in 2008 after Tsvangirai won the first round of elections. Mnangagwa was the minister of state security for Mugabe in the early 1980s during what was known as the Gukurahundi massacres, where as many as 20,000 people were slaughtered in a campaign in the eastern part of the country. Recently the Crocodile hinted that he was willing to come forward about the atrocity and pin the blame on his old boss.

Zimbabwe deserves better than Gucci Grace or the Crocodile. It’s not too late for the military to prepare for a real transition to democracy and call for elections. But for now, it appears the generals have paved the way for the dictator to be replaced by one of his henchmen.

(BBG) Mugabe’s Era Comes to an End as Zimbabwe’s Military Seizes Power

(BBG) Zimbabwe’s military seized power and detained 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe in a struggle over the succession of the only leader the African nation has ever known.

Mugabe was confined at his home, while Zimbabwe Defense Forces spokesman Major-General Sibusiso Moyo said in a televised address that the military action was “targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes.” Ministers in Mugabe’s administration have been accused of corruption.

Troops took control of the state-owned broadcaster and sealed off parliament and the central bank’s offices, while armored vehicles were stationed in the center of the capital, Harare.

The military intervention followed a week-long political crisis sparked by Mugabe’s decision to fire his long-time ally Emmerson Mnangagwa as vice president in a move that paved the way for his wife Grace, 52, and her supporters to gain effective control over the ruling party. Nicknamed “Gucci Grace” in Zimbabwe for her extravagant lifestyle, she said on Nov. 5 that she would be prepared to succeed her husband.

The takeover comes at a delicate moment for Zimbabwe, where an estimated 95 percent of the workforce is jobless and as many as 3 million Zimbabweans have gone into exile. With an economy that has halved in size since 2000 and relies mainly on the dollar because it has no currency of its own, a severe cash shortage is choking businesses and forces some people to sleep in the streets near banks to ensure they can make withdrawals, which are confined to as little as $20 a day.

President Jacob Zuma of neighboring South Africa called for calm and urged the military to maintain the peace. Western governments urged their citizens in Zimbabwe to remain indoors.

While declining to call the military’s move a coup, the U.S. State Department said in a statement Wednesday that “it is vital that Zimbabwean leaders exercise restraint and respect the rule of law. We do not condone military intervention in political processes.”

Zimbabwe stocks fell the most in two months and bitcoin climbed as much as 10 percent to $13,499 on the country’s Golix exchange. The currency of neighboring South Africa barely moved, with the rand less than 0.1 percent weaker against the dollar by 3:30 p.m. in Johannesburg. Zimbabwe buys manufactured goods and other products from South Africa.

The action came a day after armed forces commander Constantine Chiwenga announced that the military would stop “those bent on hijacking the revolution.”

As several armored vehicles appeared in the capital on Tuesday, Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front described Chiwenga’s statements as “treasonable” and intended to incite insurrection. Later in the day, several explosions were heard in the city.

People involved in the “purge” of liberation war veterans from the government will be arrested and charged, according to a senior official involved in the army action, who asked not to be named as the information isn’t public.

While the armed forces denied that their action represented a coup, the country is now under military rule, said Alex Magaisa, a Zimbabwean law lecturer who is based in the U.K. and helped design Zimbabwe’s 2013 constitution.

Man In Uniform

“When you see a man in uniform reading news on national television, you know it’s done,” he said in a text message. “There are no more questions. Authority is now in the hands of the military.”

Mnangagwa, who said he fled Zimbabwe because of threats against him and his family, had been a pillar of a military and security apparatus that helped Mugabe emerge as the nation’s leader after independence from the U.K. in 1980. He was Zimbabwe’s first national security minister.

Johannesburg-based IOL reported Mnangagwa had returned to the Zimbabwean capital on Wednesday. Ex-Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a Mugabe rival, also returned to Zimbabwe amid the military intervention, Sky News reported.

Mnangagwa’s dismissal signaled Mugabe’s break with most of his allies who fought in the liberation war against the white-minority regime of Rhodesia, leaving his wife’s so-called Generation-40 faction of younger members of the ruling party in the ascendancy.

While Zanu-PF named Mugabe as its presidential candidate in elections next year against a possible seven-party opposition coalition, he’s appeared frail in public, sparking concern among his supporters that he wouldn’t be able to complete another five-year term.

The Southern African Development Community will closely monitor the situation in Zimbabwe and remains ready to assist where necessary to resolve the political impasse, Zuma, who’s currently head of the organization, said in a statement. Coups are uncommon in southern Africa and previous ones in smaller countries such as Lesotho have been overturned after regional intervention.

Moyo, in his statement, told members of parliament that the military’s “desire is that a dispensation is created that allows you to serve your respective constituencies according to democratic tenets.”

Elections probably won’t be held as scheduled, Rashweat Mukundu, an analyst with the Harare-based Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, said by phone.

“The military is going to determine the shape of Zimbabwean politics, although they’ve tried to say this is not a coup,” he said. “This may result in the creation of a new unity government which will involve the opposition.”

(BBG) Editorial Board: The Good and Bad News About Mugabe’s Exit

(BBG) Few will miss Zimbabwe’s autocratic leader — but military coups rarely end well.

Under renovation.

Photographer: Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty Images

The fall from power of Zimbabwe’s 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe would be well worth celebrating — were it not for the manner of his exit and the danger it presents for his woefully mismanaged country.

Over the course of nearly four decades, Mugabe has brought what should have been one of Africa’s most prosperous economies to a state of outright collapse. Wishing to create a dynasty, he then tried to engineer the succession of his wife— ousting her most plausible rival, the former head of the nation’s security service. The armed forces stepped in, dethroning one dictator and perhaps making way for the next.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose removal precipitated this struggle, is no paragon of liberal democracy. He leads a rival faction of Zanu-PF, the ruling party, which has a long and brutal history of corruption and repression. Sadly, Zimbabwe’s defense forces are champions of their own economic interests, not the nation’s constitution or its long-suffering citizens.

Africa’s military coups have rarely given rise to democratic constitutional order, so it’s hard to be optimistic. Still, Mugabe has set the bar for political progress about as low as it can go. It wouldn’t be hard for his successor to ease the country’s suffering, and the new leader should be encouraged to make that his priority.

The longer the military remains in control, the worse Zimbabwe’s prospects. A speedy, orderly return to civilian control is essential, preferably through the formation of a transitional government that includes members of the political opposition.

Zimbabwe was supposed to hold elections next year. Letting that vote go ahead would help staunch growing unrest. For the same reason, the next government should also abandon Mugabe’s recent crackdown on social media.

Zimbabweans need relief from their desperate economic straits. The economy has shrunk by half since 2000. It’s impossible to say how many Zimbabweans are unemployed: Estimates run as high as 90 percent. U.S. dollars — Zimbabwe’s de facto currency since a prolonged spell of hyperinflation — are in such short supply that people sleep near ATMs to get the cash they need for daily purchases.

Above all, the next government needs to roll back Mugabe’s commitment to economic repression. As the economy hit bottom, a tentative start in this direction was made. This needs to go much further. Zimbabwe will need to re-engage with multilateral institutions, which can give technical and financial aid. Zimbabwe’s donors and partners, including China, should use their leverage to press for economic reform.

In the short term, the role for outsiders in this is limited, but Zimbabwe’s neighbors and the international community should do what they can to keep a dangerous situation turning into something worse. They need to assure the new government of support so long as it works toward a peaceful and, so far as possible, legitimate succession.

(JE) Zimbabué: Mugabe continua preso em casa e não se sabe da primeira-dama

(JE) O vice-primeiro ministro da Namíbia, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, negou esta manhã a especulação de que o seu país está a albergar a primeira-dama, depois de surgirem rumores de que Grace tinha fugido para a Namíbia assim que os militares tomaram as ruas de Harare.

O presidente do Zimbabué, Robert Mugabe, ainda está sob prisão domiciliária e o impasse no país continua, principalmente em relação ao paradeiro da sua mulher. A capital do Zimbabué, Harare, amanheceu esta quinta-feira em aparente calma apesar da tensão que se vive no país, mas o futuro do governante continua a ser incerto, revelam as últimas informações das agências internacionais.

O paradero de Grace ainda é desconhecido. O vice-primeiro ministro da Namíbia, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, negou esta manhã a especulação de que o seu país está a albergar a primeira-dama, depois de surgirem rumores de que Grace tinha fugido para a Namíbia assim que os militares tomaram as ruas de Harare. Ainda assim, o trânsito capital zimbabuana está a recuperar os níveis habituais. Na zona diplomática de Mount Pleasant desapareceram os controlos que foram montados na quarta-feira e as escolas retomaram as aulas.

O diretor da comissão da Administração Pública do Zimbabué, Mariyawanda Nzuwah, pediu a todos os funcionários para se apresentarem ao trabalho. “Espera-se que todos os funcionários se apresentem no seu local de trabalho todos os dias à hora normal para prestar serviço ao povo do Zimbabué”, manifestou Mariyawanda Nzuwah, que garantiu que todos os trabalhadores públicos – incluindo os membros do exército – vão receber o seu salário a tempo.

O jornal The Herald, ligado à União Nacional Africana do Zimbabué – Frente Patriótica, publica hoje um editorial no qual comenta que “se a intervenção militar pode fazer com que os dirigentes do partido voltem a focar a sua atenção nos que votaram neles, a ação terá feito muito” pelo partido.

Ontem, o exército colocou Robert Mugabe em prisão domiciliária e tomou o controlo da capital, Harare, numa operação visando, segundo indicou, “os criminosos” que rodeiam o mais velho dirigente em exercício do mundo, com 93 anos, e não “um golpe de Estado contra o Governo”. A tensão escalou depois de, na segunda-feira, o chefe das Forças Armadas, o general Constantino Chiwenga, ter condenado a demissão do vice-presidente do país, e avisado que o exército poderia “intervir” se não acabasse a “purga” dentro do Zanu-PF, partido no poder desde a independência do Zimbabué, em 1980.

+++ (BBG) Zimbabwe’s Military Seizes Power, Threatening Mugabe’s Rule

…The end of a horrible dictator…

(BBG) Alex Magaisa, law professor at University of Kent, discusses the actions of Constantine Chiwenga, pictured here.

Zimbabwe’s military seized power and detained 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe in a struggle over the succession of the only leader the nation has ever known.

Mugabe told President Jacob Zuma by phone that he’s being confined to his home and is fine, the South African presidency said in a statement. Zimbabwe Defense Forces spokesman Major-General Sibusiso Moyo said in a televised address that the military action wasn’t a coup and was aimed at only “targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes.”

Troops took control of the state-owned broadcaster and sealed off parliament and the central bank’s offices, while armored vehicles were stationed in the center of the capital, Harare.

The military takeover comes at a delicate moment for Zimbabwe, where an estimated 95 percent of the workforce is jobless and as many as 3 million Zimbabweans have gone into exile. With an economy that has halved in size since 2000 and relies mainly on the dollar because it has no currency of its own, a severe cash shortage is choking businesses and forces some people to sleep in the streets near banks to ensure they can make withdrawals.

Zuma called for calm and urged the military to maintain the peace, while western governments including the U.S. urged their citizens in Zimbabwe to remain indoors.

The action came a day after armed forces commander Constantine Chiwenga announced that the military would stop “those bent on hijacking the revolution.”

As several armored vehicles appeared in the capital on Tuesday, Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front described Chiwenga’s statements as “treasonable” and intended to incite insurrection. Later in the day, several explosions were heard in the city.

Political Crisis

The military intervention followed a week-long political crisis sparked by Mugabe’s decision to fire his long-time ally Emmerson Mnangagwa as vice president in a move that paved the way for his wife Grace, 52, and her supporters to gain effective control over the ruling party. Nicknamed “Gucci Grace” in Zimbabwe for her extravagant lifestyle, she said on Nov. 5 that she would be prepared to succeed her husband.

People involved in the “purge” of liberation war veterans from the government will be arrested and charged, according to a senior official involved in the army action, who asked not to be named as the information isn’t public.

Despite the armed forces’s denial of a coup, the country is now under military rule, said Alex Magaisa, a Zimbabwean law lecturer who is based in the U.K. and helped design Zimbabwe’s 2013 constitution.

Man In Uniform

“When you see a man in uniform reading news on national television, you know it’s done,” he said in a text message. “There are no more questions. Authority is now in the hands of the military.”

Mnangagwa, who said he fled Zimbabwe because of threats against him and his family, had been a pillar of a military and security apparatus that helped Mugabe emerge as the nation’s leader after independence from the U.K. in 1980. He was Zimbabwe’s first national security minister.

Mnangagwa’s dismissal signaled Mugabe’s break with most of his allies who fought in the liberation war against the white-minority regime of Rhodesia, leaving his wife’s so-called Generation-40 faction of younger members of the ruling party in the ascendancy.

While Zanu-PF named Mugabe as its presidential candidate in elections next year against a possible seven-party opposition coalition, he’s appeared frail in public, sparking concern among his supporters that he wouldn’t be able to complete another five-year term.

The Southern African Development Community will closely monitor the situation in Zimbabwe and remains ready to assist where necessary to resolve the political impasse, Zuma, who’s currently head of the organization, said in a statement.

Moyo, in his statement, told members of parliament that the military’s “desire is that a dispensation is created that allows you to serve your respective constituencies according to democratic tenants.”

Elections probably won’t be held as scheduled, Rashweat Mukundu, an analyst with the Harare-based Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, said by phone.

“The military is going to determine the shape of Zimbabwean politics, although they’ve tried to say this is not a coup,” he said. “This may result in the creation of a new unity government which will involve the opposition.”