Members of the Zimbabwean Defense Forces (ZDF) will be returning to their barracks following the swearing-in of President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday, the army chief General Constantino Chiwenga has told the BBC.
The man who has been hailed by most Zimbabweans as a hero told a BBC Africa editor that “troops will go back to barracks.” According to him, the reason they were forced out had been accomplished.
The army last Wednesday (November 15) announced a takeover of political power. They said their action was not a coup and that it was targeted at criminal elements surrounding the then president Robert Mugabe.
The army took over all duties of the police including directing traffic in the capital Harare and other major towns. They rolled their tankers into strategic locations during their outing. They also took over the security at the residence of Mugabe who was put under house arrest.
After series of negotiations between the army, South African government envoys and an influential Catholic priest, Mugabe, 93, eventually agreed to resign under pressure from his party, ZANU-PF, and a popular protest which received the blessings of the army.
At the time he agreed to step down, ZANU-PF had initiated impeachment processes to force him out after the party had earlier recalled him as its leader and first general secretary. The army was mobbed by protesters after Mugabe agreed to step down.
The actions of the army, received veiled condemnation from the African Union president Alpha Conde and other quarters but they insisted that their actions did not amount to a coup. Zambian president Edgar Lungu is on record to have asked them to return to their camps following Mugabe’s resignation.