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Zimbabweans in Norfolk keenly watch country's political crisis

PUBLISHED: 13:07 15 November 2017 | UPDATED: 13:14 15 November 2017

Pastor Tapiwa Kundoro and members of his church group. Picture: Courtesy Tapiwa Kundoro

Pastor Tapiwa Kundoro and members of his church group. Picture: Courtesy Tapiwa Kundoro

Archant

A group of Zimbabweans living in Norfolk are closely monitoring events in their home country after the military placed President Robert Mugabe under house arrest.

Pastor Tapiwa Kundoro, who runs the Living Water Pentecostal Fellowship in Norwich, and his wife Thandi. Picture: Courtesy Tapiwa KundoroPastor Tapiwa Kundoro, who runs the Living Water Pentecostal Fellowship in Norwich, and his wife Thandi. Picture: Courtesy Tapiwa Kundoro

The intervention by the army comes after President Mugabe sacked his Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week.

Mr Mnangagwa had been involved in a bitter power struggle with President Mugabe’s wife Grace to replace the ailing leader.

It is believed the former Vice President has the backing of the army, which has taken over key installations around the country.

Pastor Tapiwa Kundoro, who runs the Living Water Pentecostal Fellowship in Norwich, said the 600- to 700-strong community of Zimbabweans living in Norfolk were watching proceedings with interest.

Pastor Tapiwa Kundoro, who runs the Living Water Pentecostal Fellowship in Norwich. Picture: Courtesy Tapiwa KundoroPastor Tapiwa Kundoro, who runs the Living Water Pentecostal Fellowship in Norwich. Picture: Courtesy Tapiwa Kundoro

He said: “This was something that was coming after President Mugabe fired his deputy. There is a lot of infighting in the ruling Zanu-PF party between supporters of Grace Mugabe and the Vice President.

“This is a tricky situation for us as people have been suffering since 2008 and conditions in the country are really tough.

“We’ve come to the stage where any change is good change but a lot will depend on what the army does next.”

He said it would be difficult for President Mugabe to recover from the events as the army had traditionally been his power base.

“There is a lot of discussion on social media at the moment on what’s going on and we are watching closely to see how things develop.”

The take over has largely been peaceful and citizens have been allowed to go about their business.

Norwich resident Solomon Kutsirayi said he is in constant touch with family and friends in the country who had said they were well and safe.

A UK-based spokesperson for Zimbabwe opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change, said the military intervention was linked an internal Zanu-PF struggle.

Makusha Mugabe, who is not related to President Mugabe, said: “This is a coup because the soldiers are in charge. It spells the end for Mugabe but could also be an attempt by Zanu-PF to extend their rule by postponing elections which were due next year.

“If they want to bring stability to the country they should bring in the United Nations and ensure that elections take place when they are supposed to.”

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