Zimbabwe’s capital Harare is in a state of high alert after reports of explosions in the street and soldiers taking over the state broadcaster on Wednesday morning. Reuters reported that the explosions could be heard from near the University of Zimbabwe campus.
The U.S. embassy tweeted “ongoing uncertainty” during the incidents, according to The Guardian. Later it stated U.S. citizens to “shelter in place until further notice,” signifying that ominous events appear to be unfolding in this former British colony.
Due to ongoing uncertainty in Zimbabwe, the U.S. Embassy in Harare will be minimally staffed and closed to the public on November 15. Embassy personnel will continue to monitor the situation closely. @StateDept
— U.S. Embassy Harare (@usembassyharare) November 15, 2017
The ruckus took place shortly after the Zimbabwe’s government accused the head of the armed forces of “treasonable conduct.” President Robert Mugabe has not commented on the military actions, and there are open speculations about the 93-year old’s health.
In an address to the people on national television, Major General Sibusiso Moyo claimed that no military coup is in progress, but that it is an action to “target criminals.” Moyo claimed that the president and his family was “safe and sound and their security is guaranteed.” There have been reports that Mugabe has been placed under house arrest, while his wife, First Lady Grace Mugabe, has fled the country.
No details have been released about who the alleged “criminals” and what their motivations are. However, a good working hypothesis is that a power struggle is now building up in anticipation of the death of Mugabe.
Last month, Mrs. Mugabe warned about a possible coup plot, naming the recently sacked Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa as the culprit. She is popular as a potential successor to her husband among the youth wing of the ruling party, but other power factions exist and vie for the presidency.
This is not the first time Zimbabwe has experienced political turmoil. The Marxist Mugabe came to power after a violent revolution against the ruling white minority in the country then known as Rhodesia, named after its founder Cecil Rhodes.
As so often occurs in Marxist revolutions, Mugabe and his ZANU paramilitary group toppled the regime to usher in utopia. As usual, the opposite occurred. Zimbabwe used to be known as the “breadbasket of Africa,” producing so much food that it could export it to other African countries.
However, Mugabe ordered that the white farmers’ land should be expropriated and given “to the people,” which in practice turned out to be Mugabe’s party cronies. Shortly after, Zimbabwe instead ushered in hunger as the crops failed under socialist mismanagement.
The events eerily echo what took place in Ukraine during the 1930s under communist rule. Then the competent farmers, known as the Kulak, were killed and therefore millions of Ukrainians starved to death.
The same recently happened in Venezuela under socialist rule, where the country went from being an exporter of food to a hunger crisis.
Now it seems that the Zimbabwean socialist revolution is at its end stages, where it is about to settle into the traditional hereditary socialist dictatorship as seen in North Korea and Cuba. As one of the least economically free countries in the world, it seems unlikely that it will join the ranks of free countries any time soon.