Zimbabwe: To Coup or Not to Coup

The courts refused ordering the election results and Mugabe has, according to his own laws, only until Saturday to hold a presidential run-off election. The lack of election results together with a run-off not being planned before Saturday means that Zimbabwe will theoretically be without a government come Sunday morning.

What are Mugabe’s options at that point in time? The one is to carry on regardless, to continue his own personal feud against the rest of humankind and to grudgingly maintain the façade of democracy by putting up with the likes of Morgan Tsvangirai. The other option he has is to stage a coup d’état and to install himself as the de facto ruler of Zimbabwe in that way.

How well is Mugabe positioned to pull off a coup?
To effectively stage a coup d’état, the following elements are required:
1) Control of the military and law enforcement arms;
2) control of the media; and
3) the ability to force the populace into submission.

Mugabe has:
1) The ownership and support of the official military, the police and the courts
2)A private army comprising of war veterans and youth militia.
3) Promoted 407 police officers last Friday: 11 officers from Chief Superintendent to Assistant Commissioner; 42 officers to Chief Superintendent, 72 to Superintendent and 282 to Chief Inspectors.
4) Placed an army general in each and every Zimbabwean province. Since 29 March, the training of new recruits, the regrouping of the war veterans and the mobilization of the Riot Units, all started in earnest.
5) Instructed the governor of the Zim Reserve Bank, Gideon Gono, (who has owned up to this) to bankroll the refurbishment of 260 Defender vehicles for the military, the purchase of police uniforms and to pay for generators and borehole drilling at the Chikurubi Camp.
6) Complete control over the media.
7) Ability to quickly and violently suppress any resistance from within the country.

The answer is: Better Than Most

How likely is it for the coup to be successful?
For a coup to be successful the chances of intervention from outside the borders have to be low and should such intervention take place, it must be defendable by the military

Mugabe has:
1) The diplomatically silent allegiance of Thabo Mbeki. Mbeki is unlikely to oppose the coup by using his armed forces. Of note is that when the MDC started planning protests, the SAPS riot units were placed on standby. (First hand information) I wonder whose side they will be on?
2) No threat from any of the other neighbours. They are simply not strong enough.
3) No threat from the West. There is no oil or anything else of strategic value to gain from this. (Cynical, but pragmatic, I know)

The answer us: His chances of success are very high.

What if he fails?
No risk to the man with the small Hitler-ian moustache. He can seek and will be granted asylum in South Africa, where he is currently building a Beverly Hills type of mansion in the vicinity of the Lipizzaners in Kyalami. Mugabe won’t be destitute as he will still have the proceeds of his blood diamond and mineral mines in the Congo, not to mention income from his other shady little-publicized ventures too. And he will still have his old friend close by for a bit chit-chat after the demands of his current position cease come the time for the next South African election.

Will he do it?
Who knows whether this volatile megalomaniac is going to continue running his kleptocracy on an as-is basis or whether he is going to go for the country’s jugular by means of a coup. The choice is his – there is precious little that will influence it, except perhaps his own delusional mind.

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