Coup news gives army the jitters

YOU WOULD have to have been wide awake to catch it in the Australian press, but it was the story of the decade in Zimbabwe.

The Standard, a Sunday paper, ran an article on January 11 saying there had been a secret plot by army officers to snatch the country from Robert Mugabe in December, but their attempt had been foiled and the plotters had been arrested.

The West Australian in Perth ran a small piece, only because the story was picked up on the Internet. None of the recognised news services had bothered to report it.

But the reaction in Zimbabwe was, to say the least, amazing, and in the week following, events showed just who IS in charge of the country.

The Standard's editor, Mark Chavunduka was arrested by the military and taken off to Cranborne Barracks, the reporter went into hiding and the offices of the newspaper, and its sister publication, The Independent were raided by military police.

The country's top police officer refused to intervene, saying he didn't have any jurisdiction over the military, despite the fact that the military was trampling civilians and breaking every law in the land.

At week's end, a high court ruling ordering the editor's release had been dismissed out of hand by the army and the Minister for Defence, thereby declaring at least, an unofficial coup d'e´tat.

On Friday, January 15, the Independent devoted much of it's editorial content to the standoff. It's comment piece, reproduced here, says just about everything. As of this writing (17/1) Chavunduka was still being held

- T.H.