n Africa Conflict Monitor - Zimbabwe's domestic opposition to Mugabe's rule intensifies : regional analysis

Volume 2016, Issue 08
  • ISSN : 2311-6943


When Africa's autocratic leaders fail to pay their military, the force that keeps them in power turns to self-interest rather than despot protection. When civil servants go unpaid, the machinery of government goes from inept to non-functional. Civil servants take to the streets, while militaries plot replacements for a superannuated ruler. Zimbabwe's President-for- Life Robert Mugabe failed to pay civil servants in June 2016, resulting in days of national strikes and tumult. Delayed payment of two weeks for the military in both June and July also presented a dangerous situation for the 92-year old autocrat. In addition, 6 July witnessed a nationwide workers stay-at-home aimed at disposing the ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF). The protest was not spearheaded by the main opposition party, Morgan Tsvangirai's conflicted Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T), but rather by the #ThisFlag movement led by Pastor Evan Mawarire. The movement is nationalistic rather than political in outlook, prideful of Zimbabwe as citizens symbolically elevate the national flag over any party symbol. To #ThisFlag, the main impediment to Zimbabwe's security and economic and social progress is President Robert Mugabe.

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