Stories

Inside the military takeover in Zimbabwe

The spokesman for the Zimbabwe Defense Forces addresses to the nation on state TV. Photo: ZBC via AP

The military has taken control in Zimbabwe, in southern Africa, and says it has taken custody of President Robert Mugabe, 93 — the world's oldest head of state, in power since 1980.

Why it matters, from Reuters: "In contrast to his elevated status on the continent, Mugabe is reviled in the West as a despot whose disastrous handling of the economy and willingness to resort to violence to maintain power destroyed one of Africa's most promising states."

  • BBC: "After seizing state TV, an army spokesman announced it was targeting people close to Mr. Mugabe who had caused 'social and economic suffering.'"
  • "The move came after Mr Mugabe sacked his deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, in favor of his wife, Grace," also in custody.
  • An awesome background paragraph, from AP: "Mugabe last week ... accused [his sacked vice president] of plotting to take power, including through witchcraft."