Mapisa-Nqakula: Zim situation is perplexing

President Jacob Zuma, in his capacity as SADC chair, last week sent Mapisa-Nqakula and State Security Minister Bongani Bongo to Zimbabwe.

FILE: Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says that Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has conceded that there’s a problem in his country but believes there’s no challenge Zimbabweans can't handle on their own.

President Jacob Zuma, in his capacity as SADC chair, last week sent Mapisa-Nqakula and State Security Minister Bongani Bongo to Zimbabwe to try and defuse tension following a military takeover.

Mapisa-Nqakula has admitted that the situation in Zimbabwe is perplexing.

“It’s a very confusing situation and I should say that it’s a matter I raised with the defence force. If you're saying this is not a military coup d'etat, then what is it?”

Mugabe faces the start of impeachment proceedings on Tuesday that could see him ousted within the week, against the backdrop of a military takeover dubbed “Operation Restore Legacy”.

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The ruling ZANU-PF party plans to bring the impeachment motion in parliament, after a Monday noon deadline expired for the besieged 93-year-old leader to resign and bring the curtain down on nearly four decades in power.

Impeachment would be an ignominious end to the career of the “Grand Old Man” of African politics, once lauded as an anti-colonial hero and the only leader Zimbabwe has known since it gained independence from Britain in 1980.

Mugabe has so far shown no signs of stepping down and has called for the weekly cabinet meeting to take place as usual on Tuesday. It would be the first-time ministers sit down with him since the military took power on Wednesday.

In the draft impeachment motion, ZANU-PF - which expelled Mugabe from the party on Sunday - accused him of being a “source of instability”, flouting the rule of law and presiding over an “unprecedented economic tailspin” in the last 15 years.

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It also said he had abused his constitutional mandate to favour his unpopular wife Grace, 52, whose tilt at power triggered the backlash from the army that brought tanks onto the streets of the capital last week.

The military operation was launched after Robert Mugabe sacked former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, in a move meant to boost Grace’s chances of succeeding her husband.

Zimbabwe’s top general said on Monday talks were planned between Mugabe and Mnangagwa, who was expected back in the country soon.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)