The situation in Zimbabwe has a great deal of mystery surrounding it. By this time, meaning the number of days passed since the initial events took place, we’d know who was behind this coup. If it was the United States we’d certainly know it by now. The US State Department and White House would have come out in full support of the coup immediately. The Americans have been conspicuously quiet on the matter. This leads me to believe they are not behind the coup.
A possibility that has been raised by some is that the Chinese may be behind the coup. This would make sense in certain ways. If this were the US or the UK, then both sides would be cheering it on and denouncing Mugabe. However, if they knew it was the Chinese they’d be denouncing the move. That is, of course, if they know it’s China or not. Still, it shouldn’t be considered impossible that China could be manipulating events behind the scenes. They are a burgeoning imperialist power which recently opened their first overseas base in Africa, in Djibouti. Still, there is little to no information on the subject.
Already we have seen those in the pseudo-leftist community attack Mugabe without an ounce of critical thought. These are the same people who immediately attacked Gaddafi and Assad as soon as a jingoist US media told them to. Almost all of those automatically attacking Mugabe are ignorant of his policies and his past as an anti-imperialist leader. They are merely acting out their Pavlovian response to imperialist propaganda.
We must certainly acknowledge this as a coup. If the president is under house arrest unless he makes reforms, we certainly couldn’t call it anything else. Technically Robert Mugabe is still the leader of the country. But for how long, we have no idea. This initial rejection of just forcing him out of power immediately says something. Normally in these cases, the target is not negotiated with, but rather extracted from power immediately. From this, I think we can deduce something important.
I think it’s important to consider there are two sets of demands being placed on him. Those the coup plotters want to be known publicly, and those they’re demanding behind the scene. Publicly they have demanded an end to the corruption in the country. This is certainly a reasonable demand to make, but one not really worth the effort of a coup. We must assume this is about the demands that are being made that the public does not hear about. Given Mugabe’s adamant defiance of the reforms, we must assume that they are particularly significant. In my estimation, they’re probably economic reforms that would restore the country to a colony of some imperialist power or another, to some degree or another. This is probably the only demand significant enough to require a coup. I doubt this is a mere grabbing of power by another political figure. If that was the case they’d simply dispose of Mugabe.
Now is a prime moment to carry out such an operation. There’s a great deal fo social unrest as a result of the deteriorating economic situation in the country. The impact of having declared independence from the UK in 1980 was enough to trigger them from the UK and imperialist countries. The great damage wrought on the country came about in the early 2000s when the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 was placed upon the country. During such a crisis is the best time to make a move against any president. Popular anger at the social and economic situation can be harnessed to support the coup plotters.
There is great debate over whether or not hardliners in the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) may be trying to act against corruption in the country. People who haven’t become complacent in power are likely to oppose the degeneration of the situation and want to restore it. A good way to do that would be to force Mugabe to make some reforms. Keeping him on as the president would help avoid any futher political destabilization. Otherise he’d simply be removed and the ZANU-PF could possibly spiral into crisis.
I think this idea of a hardline coup makes the most sense IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY OTHER HARD EVIDENCE. If this is the Chinese they have carried things out very carefully. Usually, in cases such as this, the US intelligence networks still manage to catch wind of what is going on. If this were the case, the US would be denouncing China. They wouldn’t necessarily be suporting Mugabe, but they would be attacking China in the media at the very least. This could still be the case, we’ll have to wait and see.
Only time will tell as this situation plays out.