Yadhana Jadoo
3 minute read
17 Nov 2017
6:24 am

Mugabe likely to stay in Zim than seek political asylum – analyst

Yadhana Jadoo

‘Forcing him to leave would be incredibly embarrassing.’

As a military takeover continues to play out in Zimbabwe, the future of Robert Mugabe hangs in the balance in terms of what will become of the beleaguered president when he is ousted from the position he has occupied for 37 years.

However, according to an analyst, it is likely a deal would be struck to still allow Mugabe residence in Zimbabwe.

It would be “incredibly embarrassing” for the 93-year-old if he is forced to leave, said political analyst Daniel Silke.

“Given the particular nationalistic fervour with which Mugabe has run Zimbabwe, it would be a severe embarrassment to him and his legacy as a liberation fighter if he is either forced to leave the country, or elects to leave voluntarily.

“There is a particular aura about Mugabe in terms of his role as a liberation fighter. His own rhetoric relating to the land of Zimbabwe over the years indicates that the deal would allow him to live in Zimbabwe in his remaining years, rather than flee to some other destination.

“It would be incredibly embarrassing if he has to come to South Africa. Although he was a comrade in arms in the struggle, he is a competitor on the African stage.

“If he goes to one of the other Southern African Development Community countries, it would also indicate that he has been banished to a remote destination. “I don’t think that will happen.”

The deal would likely be to keep Mugabe comfortable at his mansion situated in Borrowdale, Harare, where he would be assured of safety in the foreseeable future, said Silke. “This would allow him to save face in the broader sense of the word. It would allow him to exit the job with some dignity.

“His safety also depends on the way in which the exit strategy is handled. “Had there not been this coup and had Mugabe announced a natural retirement in the next few months, I don’t think anybody would have questioned his personal safety.

“I don’t think this coup is about doing him any personal harm. The coup plotters, and the language used thus far by the military indicates there is no danger for him in that regard.”

Grace Mugabe would, however, clearly have to accept a “submissive position” in what is a changing Zimbabwean political environment, said Silke. “It’s a little bit tougher for her, but I don’t think there is a personal danger for her.

“She is younger and she may retain certain followers in the ruling party Zanu-PF. “She will find her future a lot more difficult to manage given those particular features.

“She will really have to effectively subjugate any designs on power for what would be a changed political environment,” he added.

“She would have to lie low for a period and see how the cards fall in this rather dynamic environment.”

– yadhanaj@citizen.co.za


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