Robert Mugabe, age 90, is on his way out of power, after ruling Zimbabwe continuously as either prime minister or president since 1980, just months after independence. This is really happening this time. The scramble inside the ruling Zanu-PF party — between his previously non-political wife and various political competitors — to succeed him is now fully out in the open. No one is pretending otherwise or talking around it.
Given recent events in Burkina Faso and talk of a possible wave of sub-Saharan African dictators and strongmen being toppled or exiting suddenly, Zimbabwe’s succession struggle is rapidly taking center stage on the global radar… and all eyes are on whether the military will get involved.
According to The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, the military says it has no interest in choosing sides in an internal party matter, but it has recalled all its furloughed troops (previously sent home for budget reasons!) just to keep them from getting involved in the political scene while off-duty.
However, the ruling party has also hired a number of former senior military officials and troops will likely be deployed to restore order after the one faction inevitably loses.