Wednesday, November 22, 2017

"How Elite Plotters Toppled Mugabe’s 37-Year Reign"

More than three decades ago, Mr. Chiwenga was a young army officer who tried to kill himself after botching his military exams. Mr. Mugabe summoned the soldier and made him an offer: Pledge eternal loyalty in return for promotion, privilege and power.

By now, Mr. Chiwenga was a general, the head of Zimbabwe’s defense forces. He was also an ally of the vice president Mr. Mugabe had fired. As Gen. Chiwenga prepared to return from a trip to China, police loyal to Mr. Mugabe positioned themselves at the Harare airport to arrest him, in events described by senior security officials.

But the army had been tipped off, and its commandos were also deployed there—disguised as airport workers. As the plane landed, the soldiers shed their airport-worker uniforms to reveal army fatigues and weapons. The police fled, and Gen. Chiwenga was escorted to his army base. The ambush had been foiled.