Why the Zimbabwe army is avoiding the word ‘coup’

November 15, 2017
| Report Focus News

Kim Chakanetsa

That was the line that stood out in Maj Gen Sibusiso Moyo’s prepared statement on Zimbabwe’s national broadcasting channel ZBC this morning.

Gen Moyo was keen to emphasise that this was not a coup.

So why does that matter?

The African Union (AU) and the regional bloc, the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), do not look favourably on coups.

We saw it with Burkina Faso in 2015 when the AU suspended Burkina Faso and slapped sanctions on the coup leaders who tried to seize power a year after the popular uprising against long-time ruler Blaise Compaore.

It is not surprising then that the army has been at pains at trying to retain the appearance of civilian authority.

Already, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma on behalf of Sadc has issued a diplomatically worded statement which makes it clear that the region will not support power being seized forcibly.

This is likely to dictate the language around what happens in Zimbabwe next.

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