When Bob Marley sang “I’n’I a-liberate Zimbabwe” in 1979, he was praising the efforts of freedom fighters like Robert Mugabe, a Zimbabwean revolutionary who was once jailed for fighting against colonial British rule.
Some 30-plus years later, however, Mugabe, for all intents and purposes, has been ousted by his military—and the people—who took to the streets by the tens of thousands Saturday to urge the freedom figher-turned-dictator to beat it.
The capital, Harare, was the site of most of the protests, where many carried flags of the nation while demonstrating against the 93-year-old and his wife, Grace “Gucci Grace” Mugabe.
As reported earlier by The Root, it’s a coup that isn’t being called a coup, mostly because there has been no bloodshed. Regardless of what it’s called, it seems to be a shift in power, although Mugabe has reportedly said that he will not leave office.
However, the military and senior officials within the ruling ZANU-PF party now appear set on forcing Mugabe out within 48 hours, The Guardian reports.
On Friday, Mugabe, who had been confined to his home in a posh neighborhood, attended a graduation ceremony. But later that day, all 10 of the country’s ZANU-PF (which is Mugabe’s party) branches had passed motions of no confidence in the president.
Some of Mugabe’s former comrades in arms against the British said that it was time for Mugabe to release power.
“Between now and tomorrow, we are giving a very stark warning to Mugabe, his wife and anyone who wants to be associated with him that the game is up, finished,” said Chris Mutsvangwa, a political foe whom Mugabe had exiled to South Africa.
Mutsvangwa urged Zimbabweans to attend Saturday’s march “so we finish the job the army has started.” Opposition officials told The Guardian that they believed there would eventually be a deal allowing Mnangagwa to be appointed president, leading to a transitional government in which senior opposition leaders would be in top posts.
Mugabe and especially his wife, Grace, have apparently lost the confidence of the people. Grace, who married Robert when she was 31 and he 72, is under sanction by the European Union and the United States after not allowing officials to observe Zimbabwe’s 2002 elections. The Mugabes are also accused of plundering the country for their personal wealth.
Grace Mugabe—who apparently has a vicious temper—has not been seen since Robert Mugabe was placed under house arrest, and The Guardian reports that leaders of the G40, a faction of the military that is loyal to the first lady, had been arrested.
Before the coup that’s not a coup, Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe had been in the news for the arrest of a 25-year-old American who allegedly ridiculed the president on social media and was arrested.
Martha O’Donovan, a central New Jersey native, was freed on bail Nov. 10.
Read more at The Guardian.