Golpe de Estado

The fall of Robert Mugabe has dominated global coverage of Africa over the past few weeks. In Western coverage of the first week after the coup in Zimbabwe there was speculation about what China knew beforehand and whether Beijing played an active role in pushing for it.

China’s mention drowned out other notable external stakeholders such as the UK, the US, South Africa, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU). And it almost threatened to overshadow the domestic dynamics that led to the changeover.

There are reasons to draw a direct parallel between China and the recent events in Zimbabwe.…  Seguir leyendo »

As former president Robert Mugabe and his second wife, Grace Mugabe, prepare to make their exit from Zimbabwe’s State House, Zimbabweans have hankered for “Amai” (Mother) Sally, his late first wife, who is fondly remembered as a “very sensitive and intelligent woman” who may have been a ““restraining influence” on her husband.

On the day of the military intervention earlier this month, the veteran South Africa-based Zimbabwean journalist Peter Ndoro tweeted the following:

“As developments continue to unfold in #Zimbabwe #RobertMugabe might be looking back and wondering if … his rule wasn’t a tale of two wives. One that died too soon and the other that ended up being his Achilles heel.…  Seguir leyendo »

After 37 years in office, Robert Mugabe’s odds of being removed from power by members of his ruling circle in Zimbabwe were slim. Research on authoritarianism suggests the 93-year-old president was well-positioned to live out his final days in office and join the ranks of the 80 post-World War II dictators who have died in office of natural causes.

The longer a dictator rules, the less likely he is to be toppled in a coup — that’s what history reveals. While concerns about succession loomed large in Zimbabwe, data show that older leaders (ages 65 and up) are at lower risk of losing power in a coup than are their younger despotic counterparts.…  Seguir leyendo »

The ecstatic scenes said it all – Zimbabweans around the world are celebrating the resignation of Robert Mugabe as president. In January 1980, hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans thronged Zimbabwe Grounds stadium in Highfields township, Harare, to welcome Mugabe back from exile. In March 1980, with reggae icon Bob Marley and Britain’s Prince Charles in attendance, thousands filled Rufaro Stadium to witness the handover from Rhodesia to the new nation of Zimbabwe. Thirty-seven years later, the largest crowds Harare has ever witnessed flooded the streets once again; not to welcome Mugabe in, but to see him out. One simple, taut phrase summed up the day’s events: ‘This is our second independence day.’

How did it come to this?…  Seguir leyendo »

I spent a lot of time in Zimbabwe in the mid-2000s, as the head of a human rights organization that worked across Southern Africa. Even at the height of the political turmoil in 2008, when opposition figures were assaulted in the aftermath of a stolen election, I was often struck by how deeply respectful Zimbabweans were of their president. Many people were obviously unhappy with Robert Mugabe’s leadership. Still, it was not unusual to hear people reference his role in the independence movement, to point out his clear intellectual gifts and his efforts to advance education.

They had no such respect, however, for his wife.…  Seguir leyendo »

Fue el país de los multimillonarios pobres y ahora se ha convertido en el del golpe de Estado amable. Zimbabue ha sido durante 37 años el reino de Robert Mugabe, y está tan impregnado de él que cuando el Ejército se ha enfadado lo ha acorralado sin atreverse a expulsarlo. No solo por el respeto que los shona –la cultura mayoritaria a Zimbabue– deben a los ancianos –y Mugabe ya tiene 93 años–, sino porque son sus amigos y compañeros de poder de siempre. No querían deshacerse de Mugabe, pero necesitaban garantizar que ellos tomarían el relevo cuando deje de ser presidente.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Friday, an office worker at a government building took down President Mugabe’s portrait to dust it, as she has done every day for years. Then she paused, unsure whether to put it back up. The portrait is everywhere, from supermarkets, offices and banks. There he is – Mugabe, sitting stiffly in his dark suit, peering down through thick-rimmed glasses, as the stern father looking down at us.

Much like the portrait, Mugabe has been an ever-present influence in every Zimbabwean’s life. But yesterday, as strangers hugged and stopped to dance with each other when I made my way to an anti-Mugabe rally, it seemed that he was finally leaving, with Zimbabweans looking to the future with a mix of anxiety and hope.…  Seguir leyendo »

Early Wednesday morning in Zimbabwe, Major General Moyo of the Zimbabwe Armed Forces announced on national television that President Robert Mugabe and his family were safe and that the military would be “targeting criminals” that are “causing social and economic suffering in the country.”

Moyo took pains to clarify that this was “not a military takeover of government.” The ruling ZANU-PF party’s youth league later tweeted out its own reassurances:

Coup or no coup?

Poetic language notwithstanding, it was clear to many observers that events had unfolded according to the standard coup playbook. Military actors associated with Army Chief General Constantino Chiwenga and recently ousted Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa had taken control, with soldiers in charge of the broadcasting building, parliament, courts, president’s residence and other symbolic locations in the city.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Zimbabwe Defense Forces have taken control of the country. What exactly happened?

The crisis burst into the open on 6 November when President Mugabe fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and expelled him from the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party. Mnangagwa has been aligned with the military and Zimbabwe’s National Liberation War Veterans Association, and had been in a fierce struggle for power in the race to succeed the country’s 93-year-old leader. His principal opponent was Grace Mugabe, the president’s wife, who heads a rival faction of ZANU-PF veterans known as the G40, leads the women’s wing and is popular among young party activists.…  Seguir leyendo »

There is no doubt that the events of the last 48 hours in Zimbabwe mark the beginning of the end of Robert Mugabe’s reign. The dictator’s 37-year-rule was distinguished by untold suffering, high inflation, shortages of water, electricity and money. Millions of Zimbabweans left the country in search of better opportunities. The majority of those who remained were left to live in poverty and illness.

In a confusing sequence of events on Tuesday and Wednesday, the military seized the state television broadcaster ZBC, and in an effort to downplay what was happening said there was no coup, but that it was targeting criminals around the president.…  Seguir leyendo »

In Zimbabwe, the military has taken control of the capital Harare, with tanks and troops stationed around the city. Its army generals officially announced around 4 a.m. local time on Wednesday that President Robert Mugabe and his family “are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed.”

While Gen. Constantine Chiwenga insists it is not a military takeover, “safe and secure,” for those of us who study African politics, is also code for secured. This effectively means that the first family is now under some type of arrest and those closest to first lady Grace Mugabe, who until the takeover appeared to be in charge in the ruling party, have been arrested for attempting to recolonize the country and undermining the revolution.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tanks rolled into Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, on Tuesday, as tensions escalated between the military and President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party. In a statement read on the state broadcaster, ZBC, an army official reported early Wednesday morning that Robert Mugabe and his family are “safe” and that the military are “only targeting criminals around [Mugabe] who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country.”

What kicked this off? Zimbabwe’s vice president, Emerson Mnangagwa, was fired last week, accused of exhibiting traits of “disloyalty, disrespect and deceitfulness.” He went into exile, but continues to denounce the Mugabe regime.…  Seguir leyendo »

The situation in Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe is said to be under house arrest, is still unclear. But the events of the past 24 hours will have a long-lasting impact on the future of the country.

First, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, in sending troops on to the streets and detaining the nation’s 93-year-old leader, have stopped the ruinous factional fighting that had virtually halted policymaking within the Zanu-PF government.

The army has also stopped Mugabe from anointing his wife as successor – something most Zimbabweans simply could not accept. Next month Grace Mugabe was set to be appointed deputy to her husband, paving the way for a new dynasty within the ruling party.…  Seguir leyendo »

En junio de 1917 los partidos de la oposición vieron la oportunidad de forzar al gobierno, al rey y a los partidos tradicionales a convocar Cortes constituyentes. Para dar el golpe de fuerza convocaron una Asamblea de Parlamentarios que se arrogó la legitimidad de representar la voluntad del pueblo, al objeto de oponerse a la ley y violentar las instituciones.

La convocatoria de Pablo Iglesias Turrión en nombre de Podemos, IU, En Marea y Catalunya en Comú para reunir una Asamblea parlamentaria se basa en la idea de que España atraviesa una crisis total, equiparable a la de 1917, y comparte el mismo objetivo y maneras que los antisistema de entonces.…  Seguir leyendo »

Turkey, the world’s worst offender of press freedom according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, now accounts for a third of journalists jailed globally. The Turkish government, however, rejects the accusation. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently insisted that his country has “more press freedom than the West,” echoing earlier claims by the justice minister that no journalists are imprisoned – only terrorists. Their denials do little to obscure the inevitable truth: Ankara continues to jail some of the country’s most prominent journalists, and on increasingly ludicrous charges.

The recent arrest of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel has shone a new light on press persecution in Turkey.…  Seguir leyendo »

Adopto como título de este artículo el de la famosa obra del poliédrico François Mitterrand en su alegato contra el general De Gaulle, aunque naturalmente lo que digo aquí no tiene nada que ver con aquella controversia. Pero me parece que ese enunciado es enormemente expresivo de lo que viene ocurriendo en Cataluña desde hace ya muchos años.

Ahora bien, el concepto de golpe de Estado ha ido evolucionando desde sus primeras enunciaciones hasta llegar a esta nueva forma catalana de hacerse con el poder y, consecuentemente, de lograr la independencia. En efecto, el francés Gabriel Naudé, uno de los primeros autores que se ocuparon de este concepto en el siglo XVII, en su libro Consideraciones políticas sobre los golpes de Estado, lo define en plural, afirmando que “son acciones osadas y extraordinarias que los príncipes están obligados a realizar en los negocios difíciles, contra el derecho común, sin guardar siquiera ningún procedimiento ni formalidad de justicia, arriesgando el interés particular por el bien público”.…  Seguir leyendo »

Coup attempts often come as a big surprise — and bring big changes. Purges and imprisonments since Turkey’s July 2016 failed coup, for instance, have some observers worried about the state of democracy in Turkey, while others worry about Turkish rapprochement with Russia.

Anticipating exactly when a coup will occur is generally difficult, but a number of researchers work on forecasting where coup attempts are likely to occur. Jay Ulfelder created annual projections of coups d’état for 2012 to 2015, but his blog has been on hiatus since then.

Our research has developed tools to forecast irregular leadership changes, which include coups.…  Seguir leyendo »

Eight Turkish military officers who may or may not have been involved in the attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last July are now at the center of a tense standoff between Greece and Turkey. At a time when Greece’s economy is still in limbo and Turks are caught between an increasingly authoritarian government and a surge in terrorist attacks, neither country can afford such a distraction. Yet the two neighbors find themselves at odds once again.

The men — two majors, four captains and two noncommissioned officers — turned up in the northern Greek town of Alexandroupolis in a military helicopter the day after the attempted coup.…  Seguir leyendo »

“In Turkey, we are progressively putting behind bars all people who take the liberty of voicing even the slightest criticism of the government,” wrote author Orhan Pamuk, Turkey’s first Nobel Prize winner. “Freedom of thought no longer exists. We are distancing ourselves at high speed from a state of law and heading towards a regime of terror” that is driven by “the most ferocious hatred.”

Pamuk wrote those words in Istanbul, but they were not published in Turkey. He sent them to Italy’s leading liberal daily, “Repubblica”, because no Turkish paper would dare to publish them. Indeed, almost the entire senior editorial staff of Turkey’s oldest mainstream daily, “Cumhuriyet”, was arrested recently, allegedly for supporting both Kurdish rebels and the Islamic secret society controlled by exiled Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.…  Seguir leyendo »

El intento de golpe de estado en Turquía fue el foco mediático de la comunidad internacional a principios de este verano de 2016. Lo que sucede en este país es de capital importancia para la estabilidad en Oriente Medio debido a  su posición estratégica entre Oriente y Occidente y con una población de casi ochenta millones, mayoritariamente musulmana, hacen de Turquía un actor fundamental en el complicado entramado de esa región. Este país es además un miembro de la OTAN y aspira a pertenecer a la Unión Europea. En el terreno económico las inversiones extranjeras son cuantiosísimas, ascendían a 1.800 millones de dólares en enero de 2015, el mayor receptor de ese capital ha sido el sector de la energía.…  Seguir leyendo »