The November 15 military coup exposed the military face of the Zanu PF ruling elite and placed Zimbabwe in a very precarious state with military people occupying key positions in the ‘new government’, a 2017 State of Human Rights Report has noted.
According to the report released a few weeks ago by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, the military staged coup which overthrew the government of former President Robert Mugabe was a violation of the constitution among others which have raised new transitional justice questions for Zimbabwe.
“The event exposed the military face of the ZANU-PF ruling elite and placed Zimbabwe in a very precarious state with military people occupying key positions in the new government,
“Following this development, there is widespread fear that the military is increasingly getting involved in the public sphere, which might also further shrink the civic space in Zimbabwe,” noted the report.
“Citizens have since grappled with calling the military intervention as a coup some have even decided to call it a military assisted transition, some a new dispensation yet military encroachment in public life is glaringly evident,” the report added.
The report further noted that the November military intervention was unconstitutional as it violated Section 208 of the Constitution which stipulates that the security services must not be involved in politics or civilian affairs.
According to NGO Forum, the development set a dangerous precedent that will see Zimbabwe struggling with keeping the military out of politics.
“Following the military coup, Zimbabwe’s status on Freedom House ranking declined from partly Free to Not Free and its political rights rating declined from 5 to 6 due to the process by which president Robert Mugabe was compelled to resign in November under pressure from the military,
“President Mnangagwa took office 9 days after the military coup and subsequently appointed several high-ranking military figures to his cabinet,” added the report.