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The Ghana Institute of Governance and Security (GIGS) wishes to call on Zimbabweans to tread cautiously in the handling of the military’s intervention in the governance of the country.
We take note of the assertion maintained by the Military that the intervention is not a coup de tat, but a move to get rid of “criminals” around 93 year old President Robert Mugabe.
We are also delighted to learn about President Mugabe’s first public appearance at a graduation ceremony in Harare today, November 17, after last week’s military takeover during which the President was confined to his home.
Amidst the negotiations with President Mugabe to step down mainly because of old age, we acknowledge the efforts by the military in managing the situation to demonstrate that their action is not a coup d’etat but to save the governance and democratic structure from deteriorating into a leadership and political crisis.
Although the military maintains that it not a coup, its intervention can best be described as an academic takeover, and the military should be mindful of the implications in order not to disrespect the flag and the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
But GIGS believes that whatever way the action of the military is described, it is unconstitutional because you cannot force a change of government through any means other than the use of the ballot box.
In handling the dilemma, GIGS wishes to remind Zimbabweans of the need to uphold democratic values in what options they take in the negotiations of President Mugabe.
President Mugabe may have being in power for a record long time, but he remains a democratically elected President and an iconic African leader of whom many remain proud.
The military should be reminded of the need to reason with President Mugabe and not to force him out, a situation that can be counter-productive.
President Mugabe cannot be wished away, and in all things, we encourage Zimbabweans to flag the many positives of their President for his tremendous contributions towards the development of that country, and Africa in general.
Whether President Mugabe decides to relinquish power, or the military finds it necessary to have him handover power due to his physical inability to govern, the exit must be gracious and dignified.
The military must build public consensus on the matter, win the confidence of the citizenry, and avoid the perception of a coup d’etat, which could only set a precedent for more coups.
The government and people of Zimbabwe should not allow themselves to be pressured in taking hasty decisions in order not to dilapidate the diplomatic and development gains achieved by Zimbabwe.
GIGS wishes Zimbabwe well in their decisions that would be taken in the coming days which would ultimately define the future of Zimbabwe.