In less than three tumultuous years, Mali witnessed two coups, a scenario seemingly worlds apart from the origins of Zimbabwean leaders like Mnangagwa or Mugabe. Yet, the common thread binding them lies in the lust for power. This pervasive yearning for control shapes the preference for a tyrannical political system that blurs the lines between party and state, exemplified by Zimbabwe’s Zanu PF. Here, we delve into the prophecy of downfall looming over Mnangagwa, just as it had befallen his predecessor and alleged mentor.

Much like Zimbabwe, Mali houses its own tyrannical party – Zanu PF – dominated by its second secretary, who wrested power from the first secretary amidst allegations of orchestrating assassinations. This pivotal point underscores that Zanu PF is not merely tyrannical but also deeply personalized. This personalized nature of the party serves as a ticking time bomb, with factionalism ignited by its illegitimate personalization.

This perilous mix eventually led to a military coup, compelling Mugabe to dishonorably relinquish his decades-long grip on power, having molded the party in his image and nurtured a potential dynastic successor – his young and assertive wife, who orchestrated a civilian “bedroom coup.” The ultimate goal of such a personalized one-party state is to pave the way for the anointed successor, selected from among the party’s aging leaders whose sunset is imminent. The motives behind this are remarkably straightforward.

Firstly, it serves as a convenient means to evade accountability and transparency. The only path to such evasion is by installing one’s spouse or offspring as the new face of power while ensuring their appointment as vice president during one’s own tenure. Zanu PF, known for its sycophantic allegiance, would undoubtedly approve this affront to democracy, much like they did with Mugabe’s 2018 candidacy.

How does this scenario relate to a coup for Mnangagwa? When you have former securocrats, who abandoned their military roles in pursuit of political power, yearning for the presidency, and a president determined to cling to power beyond 2030, a coup becomes as certain as gravity. Figures like Chiwenga and Valerio Sibanda, emboldened by their purported sacrifices during the liberation struggle, now see themselves as presidential contenders. They seek not only the presidency but also immunity from the loss of their ill-gotten wealth and prosecution for egregious human rights violations, including maiming, beatings, rape, and extrajudicial killings. These atrocities were committed in the quest to prolong and strengthen Zanu PF’s dominance, affording these securocrats a shot at the presidency. When Mnangagwa personalizes the party and denies these aspirations, akin to Mali, a military coup looms large, and Mnangagwa may face a forced abdication.

Mnangagwa’s move to extend Malaba’s tenure, an unconstitutional act, further fuels the inevitability of a military coup. It sends a clear signal that Mnangagwa has firmly entrenched himself in this unconstitutional position, much like Mugabe did in his time.

Moreover, the inevitability of a public uprising, triggered by Zanu PF’s shameless self-enrichment through the plunder of the people’s wealth (as seen in scandals like Draxgate), is another catalyst for an impending military coup. History has shown that such uprisings occurred during the Arab Spring and led to the ousting of leaders like Bashir in Sudan. This trend underscores Zanu PF’s vehement opposition to popular uprisings.

The military, a pivotal part of the prevailing status quo, perceives these uprisings as a direct threat to their interests. The evasion of accountability for heinous human rights violations, such as the tragic Gukurahundi, Chiadzwa alluvial diamond fields, and electoral violence, hinges on the continuity of Zanu PF’s grip on power. Transitioning to a people’s choice party, sensitive to their welfare and transparency, would put the military’s interests in jeopardy. They cannot afford prosecution, be it for plundered wealth or human rights violations motivated by their insatiable greed. Thus, they may resort to removing Mnangagwa from his illegitimate throne to avoid accountability and transparency, ushering in a new era fraught with uncertainty as the people reclaim their power.

This time, the people have learned from the military’s past deceptions.

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