Constitutional law expert Dr Alex Magaisa has said that President Robert Mugabe forgot the source of his power and in the end was neutralised by the monster that he had created. Commenting on the takeover by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), Magaisa said that Mugabe’s presidency had lived by the gun and had also been ended by the gun. Writing on his politics and law blog, The Big Saturday Read, Magaisa said:
Perhaps his greatest mistake was that power got to his head so much that he forgot where it came from. It was not the people that had kept him in power in his twilight years but the might of the military. As guarantors of his authority, the military had the power to withdraw that guarantee, which is precisely what they have done. It might be said the greatest irony in all this is that it was Mugabe who benefited the most from the military when his presidency was in jeopardy, but now the monster that he created has returned to consume him. His presidency lived by the gun and now it has effectively been neutralised by the gun.
The new men in charge are keen to insist that this is NOT a military takeover. It does not diminish the fact that it is. They are merely choosing their words carefully because they know a coup is a hard sell to the region and the rest of the world. They have to retain the appearance of civilian authority but the truth is that Mugabe is now no more than a titular figure. Also, while they are obviously appalled by his wife’s behaviour and attitude towards them, the military and war veterans still retain residual respect for Mugabe, the veteran leader who has led them since their war days in the seventies. They may want to see him retire but they do not want to mistreat him. A veteran of the first generation of African nationalists, he still commands respect among his African peers. The new rulers know that mistreating him would be regarded in poor light. Besides, they probably regard him not as the author of their problems but also as a victim of the machinations of his ambitious wife and the G40 faction.