(GIN) – After weeks of silence, former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe came out of his shell and delivered a furious tirade against his one-time party allies who engineered his ouster last November in an action they called “Operation Restore Legacy.”
Mugabe, in a rare display of resentment and bitterness, called his removal by military members of his own Zanu-PF party “unconstitutional”. He was speaking at a private party at his Harare mansion where guests had gathered to celebrate his 94th birthday, according to the Standard newspaper which attended the event.
Speaking for close to two hours, Mugabe said the country was effectively under military rule and that even his own security was not protected.
“To start with, the political and security situation in Zimbabwe has radically changed since Nov. 15; certainly not for the better, but for worse,” Mugabe told the group that included ex-members of his cabinet.
Mugabe recounted his military history in Zimbabwe until the early days of his ouster.
“I was pressured by the army to resign; I did so in order to avoid conflict and bloodshed in my country. I was worried because people had been intimidated, attacked, homes had been raided at gunpoint and destroyed, and weapons confiscated from other state security agencies,” Mugabe alleged.
“The army had been deployed without permission of the commander-in-chief and soldiers continue to be used in this operation … yet some of his officials dare call me a dictator.”
“They must accept and apologize that what they did was wrong,” he declared. The ouster has even affected his wife, he said, who cries daily.
“Please don’t appease them,” he urged Moussa Faki Mahamat, the head of the African Union Commission during a recent visit.
The AU chief, however, had a different take on his talk with the ex-president. “I met him (Mugabe), we exchanged views, and he explained why he resigned. It was for peace and development of the country. And we appreciated that very much,” Mahamat was quoted as saying.
“Zimbabwe is indeed open for business,” he wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, military elements within the ruling Zanu-PF are reportedly maneuvering to install Constantino Chiwenga who led the takeover that ended Mugabe’s 37-year rule. Since then, Chiwenga has been named vice president and defense minister but is also on the EU sanctions list.
“Tensions and mistrust are certainly building up in government, although things may appear rosy on the surface,” according to an observer. w/pix of M.F. Mahamat, R. Mugabe and G. Mugabe