Zimbabwe seems to be heading toward a civil war.
The latest spark came on Monday, when Zimbabwe's military head, General Constantine Chiwenga warned President Robert Mugabe, and his wife, Grace, to end their political purge. "The current purging, which is clearly targeting members of the party with a liberation background, must stop forthwith," Chiwenga said. "We must remind those behind the current treacherous shenanigans that when it comes to matters of protecting our revolution, the military will not hesitate to step in."
Chiwenga is referencing Mugabe's crackdown on top members of his own Zanu-PF party, including presidential aspirant and fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa. This effort to rid Zanu-PF of Mugabe opponents is seen as a reflection of Grace Mugabe's desire to replace her husband as president.
Still, it's not just the military who are upping the ante.
Chiwenga's threat follows Mnangagwa's warning last week that "You (Mugabe) and your cohorts will instead leave Zanu PF by the will of the people and this we will do in the coming weeks as Zimbabweans in general now require new progressive leadership that is not resident in the past and refuses to accept change."
It's a dangerous situation.
As I've noted, Grace Mugabe is a corrupt and violent creature, determined only to advance her own self-interests. Yet Chiwenga and much of the Zanu-PF elite now opposing the Mugabes are little better. Beneficiaries of a profoundly corrupt political-patronage culture, very few of them have any real interest in Zimbabwe's impoverished population.
There is a glimmer of hope.
According to a recent Reuters investigation, Mnangagwa is determined to pursue land reforms and attract foreign investment should he ever become president. If nothing else, those steps would help make Zimbabwean lives a little bit better.
Nevertheless, the Mugabes have hung onto power for 30 years and are unlikely to surrender without a fight.