Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Emmanuel Fabiano has said Malaiw government is closely watching the situation in Zimbabwe as the military has taken over, placing President Robert Mugabe under house arrest and detaining senior government officials in what many are expecting to be the beginning of a transition of power.
Fabiano said according to Times Radio that Malawi government hopes that relevant parties can properly handle their internal affairs.
He said government is monitoring the situation, which he said is still “fluid”.
Mugabe is an ally of Malawi President Peter Mutharika and the relationship between Lilongwe and Harare have remained strong for many years from the time of Kamuzu Banda to Bakili Muluzi, strengthened during Bingu wa Mutharika then Joyce Banda and now Peter Mutharika.
A large community of Malawians in Zimbabwe’s are being advised to stay indoors following political tensions in the country, according to Malawi’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Ms Anne Kumwenda.
Legacy of tyrant
Mugabe’s legacy as one of the most ruthless tyrants of modern times will remain long after his days as notorious statesman of Zimbabwe are over, reports The Telegraph.
What could turn out to be Mugabe’s final night in charge of the troubled south African nation concluded in typically chaotic fashion with the Army saying it had Mugabe and his ambitious wife Grace in custody following a takeover of the state broadcaster.
Tensions escalated after the first lady appeared to be positioned to replace Mugabe’s recently fired deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, leading many in Zimbabwe to suspect she could eventually succeed her husband.
The elderly politician’s second wife – after Sarah Hayfron died in 1992 – remained unpopular with some Zimbabweans because of her lavish spending, including in London’s plush stores, while many around her struggled against the country’s crippling economy.
Mugabe’s savage rule over Zimbabwe was dominated by murder, bloodshed, torture, persecution of political opponents, intimidation and vote-rigging on a grand scale.
Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is calling for a peaceful return to constitutional democracy.
The MDC, the main political challenger to Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party for the last two decades, also said it hoped the military intervention would lead to the “establishment of a stable, democratic and progressive nation state”.
The Associated Press (AP) reports that Zimbabwe’s war veterans’ association has called the army’s actions a “bloodless correction”.
Chris Mutsvangwa, chairman of the war veterans’ group, told the AP in Johannesburg that Army General Constantino Chiwenga has carried out “a bloodless correction of gross abuse of power.” Mutsvangwa said the army will return Zimbabwe to “genuine democracy” and make the country a “modern model nation.”
Scenes in Harare
Reuters says Zimbabwean soldiers and armoured vehicles have blocked roads to the main government offices, parliament and the courts in central Harare.
Nearby, some Zimbabweans queued for cash outside banks while public taxis ferried commuters to work.
Army statement in full
The televised statement made by Zimbabwe Major General SB Moyo, Chief of Staff Logistics:
Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :
“We wish to assure the nation that His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, and commander in chief of Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Comrade RG Mugabe, and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed.
“We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice.
“As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy. To the civil servants, as you are aware, there is a plan by the same people to influence the current purging that is taking place in the political sphere to the civil service. We are against that act of injustice and we intend to protect every one of you against that.
“To the judiciary, the measures underway are intended to assure that as an independent arm of the state you are able to exercise your independent authority without fear of being obstructed.”