Pressure forced him to resign, says former NIIA DG
A former Director General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Professor Bola Akinterinwa, yesterday said the military used force against the government of Zimbabwe.
He made the assertion following Robert Mugabe’s resignation yesterday, noting that the African Union (AU) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have maintained that under no circumstances should the military force out any elected African president.Akinterinwa spoke on Channels Television in a programme anchored by Amarachi Ubani.
He said: “The starting point is that the military forced him out of power through house arrest. The AU and ECOWAS have insisted that forceful change of government is unconstitutional and that is where the illegality begins. “But when you move beyond that, the military said it was not a coup but when you look at the nature of what transpired we could say it was not a coup but a coup de tat. The two concepts are a little bit different. You can use a bit of force but not with the use of weapons.
“The intimidation and pressure on Mugabe will fall under that category but a coup de tat necessarily requires the use of force against the state and that is why the military have actually used force against an elected person but the resignation itself is legal.“Mugabe can resign, for whatever reason but the pressure was high to the extent that anybody could see his resignation coming.”
Akinterinwa added that although Mugabe overstayed his welcome but a Zimbabwe without him would have been fallow given his contributions to the country’s development.“Mugabe said Africa without Nigeria is fallow in the same way Zimbabwe without Robert Mugabe would at best be fallow. Though, Mugabe exaggerated by overstaying his welcome but nobody can replace what had done for his country.
“Part of it is the land policy. Under the colonialists, the land in Zimbabwe was divided into five categories A, B, C, D and E. Categories a, b c were the best in terms of quality and they were owned by the foreigners. When you are associated with the government you may fall under category d, which at best is, 28.5 per cent arable but Mugabe came and changed it.
“Secondly, in 1980 at the London conference, the British promised to pay 75 million pounds in compensation for the land policy promising equity and fairness in the allocation but the British paid only one million pounds and did not pay the 74 outstanding. Mugabe continued with all policy and that was why people keep voting for him until he ruled the country for 37 years.”
Robert Mugabe had resigned as president of Zimbabwe as parliament speaker Jacob Mudenda announced, bringing the curtain down on his 37-year reign.Mugabe was swept from power as his autocratic rule crumbled within days of a military takeover.
“I Robert Gabriel Mugabe in terms of section 96 of the constitution of Zimbabwe hereby formally tender my resignation… with immediate effect,” Mudenda quoted Mugabe as saying in the letter.
The news was delivered to a special joint session of parliament where lawmakers had convened to debate to impeach Mugabe, who has dominated every aspect of Zimbabwean public life since the country’s independence in 1980.His resignation was greeted on the streets of the capital Harare with car hoottings and wild celebrations.
It ended a week in which the military seized control, as tens of thousands of Zimbabweans trooped to the streets to demand the president resignation but the 93-year-old Mugabe wrestled to remain in power.
Mugabe had ruled Zimbabwe almost unopposed since the country won independence from Britain.But his efforts to position his wife Grace as his successor triggered a fury in the military circles that had underpinned his regime.