How did the army get Mugabe to resign?

President Robert Mugabe poses with General Constantino Chiwenga at State House in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 16, 2017.
President Robert Mugabe poses with General Constantino Chiwenga at State House in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 16, 2017.
Image: ZIMPAPERS/Joseph Nyadzayo/Handout via REUTERS

Zimbabwean human rights activists on Wednesday said they were in the dark about what kind of deal was brokered between President Robert Mugabe and the army which led to the 93-year-old statesman stepping down on Tuesday.

Maureen Kademaunga said she could not speculate on what kind of deal was brokered but emphasised that it was an "elite deal".

"We all don't know what they agreed on. All we have is this letter of resignation. We do not know what was discussed with the [army] generals and the former president‚" said Kademaunga.

She found it odd that the army officials refused to divulge any information about their talks with Mugabe.

"I think the commander of the Zimbabwe defence force updated the nation about five times during the course of the week and at every point‚ he never revealed what it was they were discussing and the outcome of it is a resignation letter from Robert Mugabe.

"We do not know what will happen to him‚" she said.

Kademaunga was speaking at a media conference in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Meanwhile‚ Dewa Mavhinga‚ the director of the African Division of Human Rights Watch said it was unlikely that the Mugabes could be forced to face the law for any of their crimes.

Mavhinga said this was because the incoming interim president‚ Emmerson Mnangagwa‚ and officials of the army are implicated in Mugabe's crimes.

He stressed that while the Zimbabwean army were for the first time seen as heroes by civilians for facilitating Mugabe's departure‚ they should not be idolised.

Speaking about the army's conduct during the mass protest against Mugabe's rule at the weekend‚ Mavhinga said they were again acting on orders.

"I believe they were given a command to be nice‚ to smile for a while… But we should not make the mistake of believing that overnight‚ this has been a revolution and everything is over‚" he said.

He listed a number of times where the army was called on to carry out deadly attacks.

"Now that the military has been at the forefront of disposing one of their own‚ we should be mindful that Mnangagwa‚ the military leadership and Mugabe are cut from the same cloth. These are comrades and allies who have just turned on each other but whose system remains and continues…"

Mavhinga said the issue was that the people of Zimbabwe believed that victory had been delivered through the "barrel of the gun".

"That is the problem because if at any point‚ the military feels that things are not going their way‚ they could again interfere and change the course of political events in Zimbabwe‚" he said.

Mavhinga said Zimbabwe needed to work around creating a roadmap to see how it could have free and fair elections where the African Union‚ the Southern African Development Community‚ South Africa and other nations could be observers of the process.

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