Photo Credit: CNN

Zimbabwe’s 93-year old President Robert Mugabe, who is currently under ‘house arrest’ following a November 14-15 military putsch, will survive and remain in office, but not in power. He will relinquish effective power to other younger members of the ruling Zanu-PF party. Recently sacked Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75-years, is still unlikely to take power. While the military opposed his summary dismissal, and that of former Vice President Joyce Mujuru in 2014, – the putsch will automatically NOT install Mnangagwa as president. Mujuru remains a contender.

In January 2017, DaMina Advisors accurately forecasted a “‘Bourguiba-style’ forced medical retirement for Mugabe. We reiterate that view. “In 1987 longtime Tunisian leader and father of the nation, Habib Bourguiba, then, 84 years was forcibly removed from office on grounds of medical incompetency by his chosen heir, Abidine Ben Ali, who was later himself in 2011 chased out of power by the Arab Spring). Mugabe faces a similar fate.”

In December 2014, DaMina Advisors presciently published, that “In a bid to end Zimbabwe’s destabilizing ongoing elite political fratricide and ruling party circular firing squad, the country’s powerful military may step forward in coming days to possibly forcibly retire 90-year old President Robert Mugabe to forestall his increasingly influential wife, Grace, from being appointed as Mugabe’s successor during the forthcoming December 2 – 7 party congress. Grace rose from obscurity as Mugabe’s private secretary in the 1980s to become his wife after Sally, Mugabe’s much locally beloved first wife, died of kidney failure in 1992. Grace, who had until now stayed clear of politics has in recent weeks snatched a party politburo seat and launched a vituperative acrimonious hate campaign against the country’s sitting vice president and Mugabe’s current constitutional successor, Joyce Mujuru.”

“The 59 year old popular vice president, Mujuru, and her rival, the 67-year old security apparatchik Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa have been locked in a half decade intraparty powerstruggle. With Grace and Mnangagwa now poised to strip Mujuru and her allies of all political power, Mujuru’s military chiefs allies, all of whom served under her highly illustriously decorated late husband, Solomon, may yet move frontally against Mugabe to retire him. Mujuru is herself also famous liberation war veteran and yet a palatable choice for frustrated western governments seeking change in Zimbabwe. Poised to choose between saluting Mugabe’s Macbethian wife and Mujuru, a decorated fellow veteran, Zimbabwe’s powerful military chiefs will easily favor the later and finally agree to array against Mugabe. Zimbabwe’s disciplined and effective army is one of the most well-endowed in Africa, boasting an annual budget of over $300million – more than 3-times the annual military budget of Ghana, and at over 5% of annual GDP compared to just 1% of GDP for Nigeria’s annual military budget.”

“As the health of the 90-year old Mugabe has declined, his political interests have sharply diverged from his much younger wife, who is, 41 year his junior. Grace, worried about her fate, her newfound wealth and her young children in a post-Mugabe era, has said she fears Mujuru may subject her to a Mrs Mao Zedong dress down. Grace, still intoxicated with her own recent meteoric rise in ZanuPF politics is poised to make an ambitious play for the presidency at the December 2 – 7 congress, seeking to consign the geriatric politicians around Mugabe and other presidential contenders to the dustbin of history.”

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DaMina Advisors is an Africa-focused independent frontier markets risk research, due diligence and Africa M&A transactions consulting and strategic advisory firm.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Frontera and its owners.
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