Featured SectionsDecember 20172017International NewsAfrica

Political Upheaval in Zimbabwe

By Kaitlin Principato
Staff Writer

Robert Mugabe, the 93-year-old Zimbabwe President for almost 40 years, is currently under house arrest. “He is refusing to step down. I think he is trying to buy time,” one source close to the army leadership told BBC News.

According to CNN, military personnel have taken control of the state and are currently surrounding Zimbabwe parliament, as well as the presidential palace. Political turmoil is now rampant in Zimbabwe.

The newly formed conflict between Mugabe and Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has ultimately led to the military patrolling Zimbabwe. Mugabe fired Mnangagwa in hopes of anointing his 52-year-old wife, Grace Mugabe, to the position of vice president, reported by CNN. Ms. Mugabe is currently rumored to have fled to Namibia or a family compound. Although Mugabe anticipated no backlash for the ousting, Mnangagwa has allowed and even promoted the takeover and showed full support for the military leaders.

Through his 40 year reign, Mugabe is widely known for his election riggings and ruthless campaigning, leading to the deaths of almost 20,000 people. Fox News claims that in his succession battle with the ruling Zanu-PR Party, Mugabe has used various forms of violence and murder to prevail in his electoral strategy.

Fox News reported Mugabe as someone known throughout Zimbabwe that “only God” could remove from office. His poor leadership has led the economy to fail drastically, leaving his people in poverty. The forfeiture of donors, as well as the violent seizures of white-owned farms, has also contributed to the financial and agricultural decline. With inflation has soaring, many individuals have been left in starvation while Mugabe lavishes in meals. He has not addressed these issues, as they have not affected him directly.

After the hyperinflation crisis in 2010, Zimbabweans were in desperate need to find a place to keep their personal savings secure. In turn, Bitcoin became a popular site to house financial stability for the people. Effects of the upheaval has caused Bitcoin prices to jump roughly $7,000 on global benchmark exchanges. Reports by Business Insider claim that Bitcoin prices on a cryptocurrency exchange in Zimbabwe called Golix had skyrocketed past $13,000 United States dollars, almost double the current value of other major exchanges such as Bitfinex. Once the inflation maximized, Zimbabwe’s currency became invaluable, making them legally accept the US dollar and the South African rand.

According to Eyewitness News, Deputy President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, says Zimbabwe must use democratic and constitutional platforms to take down Mugabe. Reports by Eyewitness News also claim that Ramaphosa communicated with British Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Boris Johnson, agreeing that Zimbabwe should use fair elections to prove that no authoritarian rule has a place in Africa.

China, a close ally of Mugabe, has agreed to directly support the regime change in the foreign nation the Sydney Morning Herald noted. As for other nations around the world, states are expecting  the restoration of a peaceful transition of power and stability in Zimbabwe.

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