Zimbabwe Politics and Key Players

Zimbabwe's political crisis has embroiled President Robert Mugabe, the country's 93-year-old head of state and his vice president. The president's 52-year-old wife is also an important player in the sudden turn of events. Normal life in what was one of Africa's richest countries went haywire when military tanks rolled into Harare, the capital city. It is believed that such events came to pass after the President sacked Emmerson Mnangagwa, his erstwhile confidante. Whatever happens, one thing is certain: the President is now the most vulnerable and the weakest in his illustrious political career.

Decline of a nation

Robert Mugabe has controlled Zimbabwe for almost 40 years. He was first the country's Prime Minister and later its President. He was a popular figure both at home and also abroad all through the 1980s and the earlier half of the 1990s. He became increasingly authoritarian as the years went by and was the prime mover of Land Acquisition Act. The latter forced white farmers to surrender their land, and subsequently redistributed them to black Zimbabweans. The country now faces chronic food shortages and massive inflation. Human rights abuses are now common. President Mugabe has recently instructed his ZANU-PF party to take steps to make sure that his legacy continues to shape the Zimbabwean politics.

Zimbabwean Army General Constantino Chiwenga is slated to play a key role in the coming days. He had severely criticized the sacking of vice-president. Many criticisms were also made for the firing of people linked with the country's liberation history. During a press conference held on November 14, he made a threat of the army to intervene if the sacking of senior officials of the ZANU-PF does not stop, the military will not take much time to intervene. Members of ZANU-PF have accused the General of 'treasonable conduct'.

Trade unionist and the crocodile

Morgan Tsvangirai was a former trade unionist and the Zimbabwean Prime Minister who made his entry into the government as part of the power-sharing agreement, from 2009 to 2013. He served as the deputy chairman of cabinet and also as the chairman of the council, along with the prime ministership. The 1990s saw Tsvangirai become a vocal Mugabe opponent. He also took potshots at the ruling ZANU-PF. He started the political party Movement for Democratic Change or MDC a few years later.

 Emerson Mnangagwa is another powerful political entity in Zimbabwe. He is nicknamed 'Ngwenya' or crocodile due to his survival instincts. He was once thought to be Mugabe's successor as President if the latter suddenly died. Mugabe accused him of unreliability and disloyalty before sacking him.

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