Wednesday, 15 November 2017

'Like A Dream' - Harare Wakes Up To New Era After A Very Low-Key Coup

Thirty-seven years after he took control of his country, Robert Mugabe’s dethroning was so abrupt that many Zimbabweans did not realise their country had been transformed overnight.

Samaz, a roadside fruit and vegetable seller who gave only his first name, said the first signs of change were the roadblocks set up central Harare and manned by twitchy soldiers.

“Although a little bit scary, I think this is good for us. It has been a long time,” he said, adding that he hoped the army’s move would improve the struggling economy. “My beard is grey and I am still working in the street.”

There were brief exchanges of gunfire and explosions were reported overnight, and some civilians were beaten up by police. But the only damage reported from the dramatic power struggle was to the gate of a minister’s home, after his guards put up a brief defence. Any injuries were treated in private.
'Like A Dream' - Harare Wakes Up To New Era After A Very Low-Key Coup
The Harare snatched from Mugabe’s control on Wednesday looked very much as it had the previous day, but with an unfamiliar sense of exhilaration in the air for the many who opposed their president or were weary of his decades-long rule.

“People are excited because they are ready for change,” said one official who asked not to be named. Mugabe is the only leader Zimbabwe has had since independence in 1980, and a fast-growing population means more than half its citizens were born under his rule.

The apparently bloodless seizure of power, the army’s insistence that it was engaged in a course-correction of democracy rather than a coup, and the almost immediate return to something like routine all helped to allay the fears that a military intervention would normally stir up.

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