United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa has called on the United Nations‚ African Union and Southern African Development Community (SADC) to ensure free and fair elections in Zimbabwe next year amid fears of a coup.
The army took over state broadcaster ZBC early on Wednesday and issued a statement saying it was targeting “criminals” around President Robert Mugabe.
The move comes after Mugabe fired his deputy‚ Emmerson Mnangagwa‚ accusing him of being disloyal.
The step was widely seen as a boost for Mugabe’s wife‚ Grace‚ to allow her to take over from her husband as the country’s next president.
“The opposition parties might be a little bit concerned that the army is seen to have been interested to intervene only to save Zanu-PF. In that way the UN‚ AU and SADC would have to ensure that the elections of next year are free and fair and that the soldiers are not patrolling the streets‚” said Holomisa.
He said the army had compromised itself by delving into the ruling Zanu-PF party politics.
“It’s a catch-22 situation … [They should have said] they are intervening only to fight corruption in the government and forget about what is happening in Zanu-PF‚” he added.
Holomisa is considered an expert on military coups after he led the former Transkei army and toppled two prime ministers – George Matanzima and Stella Sigcau – in a space of four months due to allegations of corruption.
In his recent autobiography‚ The Game Changer‚ he details the military actions‚ which eventually led him to the helm of the former Transkei homeland government.
Holomisa said opposition parties in the country might be concerned because the country’s economy and unemployment have long been a problem but the army had not intervened.
He said that although the army said it was rooting out bad elements in government‚ it was still not clear what evidence they have.
“So we should expect that the army of Zimbabwe will lead‚ together with security forces and law enforcement agencies in that country‚ to charge those people. Otherwise‚ if they don’t do that‚ this is a pure military takeover‚” he said.
He said Mugabe‚ whether he was safe or not‚ can no longer be said to be in full control of the country.
“Ostensibly‚ the Zimbabwean defence force is running Zimbabwe today‚” he said.