Seminar: 'By the Will of the People' or Down the Barrel of the Gun? The Fall of Mugabe and the Rise of Emmerson Mnangagwa in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe protestersWhen Zimbabwe’s President, Emmerson Mnangagwa fled into exile in November 2017, following his sacking as Mugabe’s vice president, he made certain promises. Complaining about being ‘hounded out of the party by minnows who have no liberation credentials,’ he promised to fight back ‘tooth and nail’ against what he termed ‘a mockery of ZANU PF’s founding principles.’ He further declared that in the ensuing weeks, ‘by the will of the people’, he would return as leader of the country. Prior to Mnangagwa’s declaration, his now vice president and then Commander of the country’s Defence Forces, General Constantino Chiwenga had also publicly complained about factional purges within the ruling party and its infiltration by ‘counter-revolutionaries.’ On 14 November 2017, army tanks rolled into the streets of Harare and a ‘coup that was not a coup’ was announced on the state broadcaster. A week later, Mnangagwa became Zimbabwe’s new president. Against this background, this seminar puts events into perspective by examining the events leading up to the military intervention, and the intervention itself. It will also draw on the Constitution of Zimbabwe to ask questions about the constitutionality of the intervention. Placing the intervention in the context of the ruling party’s factional succession fights, Sibanengi Ncube will argue that the opposition and civic organizations, whose fight against Mugabe dates back to the 1990s, were recruited and used to settle ZANU PF factional scores.

Sibanengi NcubeSibanengi Ncube is a final year PhD Fellow with the University of the Free State’s International Studies Group. He is also a Founding Trustee of the Parliamentary Monitoring Trust- Zimbabwe, a non-governmental organization operating in Zimbabwe.


Date, time and location

11 October 2018
15.30 - 17.00
Pieter de la Courtgebouw / Faculty of Social Sciences, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden
Room SB45 (basement)