Zimbabwe’s ruling party dismissed President Robert Mugabe on Sunday, ending his 37-year reign as the African country’s leader, a party official said.
Recently fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was appointed as the new leader of the ZANU-PF party and is expected to lead a new government. Senior figures of the party gathered early Sunday for an emergency meeting of the party’s Central Committee to discuss calls to expel the 93-year-old leader. First lady Grace Mugabe was also recalled as head of the women’s league.
Today’s southern African country of Zimbabwe, now infamous for its land invasions, state repression, and erratic rule by its de facto dictator Robert Mugabe was until 1980 a country with white minority rule. However, economic sanctions and guerilla warfare led to the transformation of power from the whites to the majority blacks, which in the recent decade meant a mass eviction of white farmers and also their exodus from the country as a whole.
In 1965 Rhodesia, led by its leader Ian Smith, declared independence from United Kingdom. The country was run by a minority of approximately a quarter million whites, who had both the political and economic power. This illegal declaration of independence led to economic sanctions against the new country, first from the United Kingdom, later from the United Nations. 1972 saw the beginning of a seven year long guerilla war between black nationalists and the Rhodesian security forces.
The sanctions continued and the political pressure against Rhodesia increased as the 1970s progressed. Negotiations concerning a transformation to majority rule came about in 1976, and the first multiracial elections took place in 1979, an election where the guerilla factions ZANU and ZAPU were banned from participating. After renewed pressure from the UK and the US a new election was held in 1980, this time including the two guerilla factions. Robert Mugabe (ZANU) won an overwhelming victory, and Rhodesia had now changed its name to Zimbabwe. AND THE REST IS HISTORY
CLICK HERE FOR THE FALL OF RHODESIA
The Harare Sports Club, a Rhodesian throwback, sits kitty-corner from Mugabe’s private residence. I was told ahead of time by locals that the patrons would be mostly white ex-farmers “crying into their beer.” Inside, towering, bull-necked men lined the bar. Most were chain-smoking, and they did seem quite wobbly. A television hanging from the ceiling played reruns of Tim Henman’s latest Wimbledon tease. At the entrance to the club is a sports shop, which sells squash rackets and cricket bats. The place is Old England in a capsule, and yet the paint is chipped, the tabs are unpaid, and the lively chatter, once about crop yields and rugby scores, now focuses on court dates and emigration plans.