2007 Zimbabwean coup d'état attempt


2007 Zimbabwean coup d'état attempt

The Zimbabwean government foiled an alleged coup d'état attempt involving almost 400 soldiers and high-ranking members of the military that would have occurred on June 2 or June 15, 2007. The alleged leaders of the coup, all of whom have been arrested and charged with treason, are retired army Captain Albert Matapo, Spokesman for the Zimbabwe National Army Ben Ncube, Major General Engelbert Rugeje, and Air Vice Marshall Elson Moyo. [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/africa/article1940402.ece Coup 'plot' feeds Zimbabwe political tension] , June 16, 2007. Times Online] [http://allafrica.com/stories/200706141067.html Zimbabwe: Army investigates reports of coup plot] , June 14, 2007. AllAfrica] [http://www.newzimbabwe.com/pages/army22.16542.html Zimbabwe 'coup plotters' charged with treason] , June 14, 2007. AllAfrica]

According to the government the soldiers planned on forcibly removing President Robert Mugabe from office and asking Rural Housing Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to form a government with the heads of the armed forces. The government first heard of the plot when a former army officer who opposed the coup contacted the police in Paris, France, giving them a map and a list of those involved. Mnangagwa and State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa both said they did not know about the plot, Mnangagwa calling it "stupid." [http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=311446&area=/breaking_news/breaking_news__africa/ Allegations of coup plot in Zimbabwe] , June 15, 2007. Mail and Guardian Online]

Some analysts have speculated that rival successors to Mugabe, such as former Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army leader Solomon Mujuru, may be trying to discredit Mnangagwa.

May arrest

Gilbert Kagodora, treasurer for the Movement for Democratic Change political party in Mashonaland Central, said he and Matapo were arrested by men whom he suspects work for the Central Intelligence Organization at 2pm on May 29 in Harare. [http://allafrica.com/stories/200706150552.html Zimbabwe: Alleged coup plotter speaks out] AllAfrica]

Kagodora said he and Matapo were put in a basement where he believes Military Intelligence Unit officials tortured him, using electrical rods to elicit confessions. Interrogators asked about MDC terror camps in South Africa, leaders and financiers of the plot, petrol bombers in the MDC, and the Democratic Resistance Committee. On June 1 Kagodora came into the custody of the Law and Order section at Harare Central Police Station. He said he heard interrogators asking Matapo to reveal the names of army and police officers with ties to the coup d'état. Police released Kagadora on June 4.

Trial

Several men, either on active duty or retired from the Zimbabwe National Army, were arrested between May 29 and early June. They have been present in secret court hearings twice in which family members and journalists were not allowed to attend. The case is now being heard by the High Court. Prosecutors accuse Albert Matapo of leading the coup and trying to "recruit as many soldiers as possible to take over the government and all camps and be in control of the nation after which he will announce to the nation that he was in control of government and would invite Minister Mnangagwa and service chiefs to form a government." Albert Rugowe, formerly an officer in the army, is accused of recruiting military officials for the coup. Captain Shepherd Maromo and Olivine Morale are also on trial.

According to a military source in Harare, the coup leaders allegedly contacted Western governments and asked them if they would support the coup. "The general feedback was that the western countries would publicly condemn the coup and privately support it only if it would restore democracy in Zimbabwe."

References

External links

* [http://www.newzimbabwe.com/pages/army22.16542.html Zimbabwe 'coup plotters' charged with treason]
* [http://allafrica.com/stories/200706141067.html Zimbabwe: Army Investigates Reports of Coup Plot]
* [http://allafrica.com/stories/200706160052.html Zimbabwe: Five Accused of Plotting Coup to Topple President]


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