A senior Mexican police official has been forced to resign after investigative journalists revealed that he and his wife had built up a property empire incompatible with his humble public-sector salary.
Arturo Bermúdez Zurita, the public security secretary of the violence-wracked state of Veracruz, stood down on Thursday after reports emerged that he and his wife had purchased a string of properties in Texas worth millions of dollars.
His resignation is a rarity in a country where public officials often accumulate fabulous personal wealth, yet accusations of wrongdoing rarely bring serious consequences.
But analysts say that Bermúdez’s fate may have less to do with serious attempts to tackle Mexico’s entrenched corruption than with shifting political winds following recent regional elections in which the ruling Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI) lost power in Veracruz and six other states.
Bermúdez resigned after the online news outlet Aristegui Noticias revealed that he and his wife had purchased five properties in suburban Houston with a combined value of $2.4m – even though he made a mere 59,500 pesos a month ($3,200), according to government transparency records.
Announcing his resignation on Twitter, Bermúdez denied any wrongdoing, saying he had always acted within the law. The Veracruz government issued a statement, saying Bermúdez was resigning to “clarify the origin of his personal patrimony and defend himself”.
The revelations mark yet another scandal for the outgoing state governor, Javier Duarte, who leaves office in December after a six-year term tarnished by spiraling violence, financial mismanagement and the murders of 19 journalists.
“The PRI on the national level needs to vindicate itself and will likely do so by throwing someone in prison,” said Miguel Ángel Díaz, founder of the Veracruz publication Plumas Libres. “With scandal after scandal and the murders of so many journalists, Veracruz is an ideal place for scapegoating.”
Under Duarte, Veracruz became one of the country’s most violent states, and state police officials were often implicated in murders and forced disappearances.
“During these five years, it was a period of terror and silence,” Díaz said. “The police were kidnapping and extorting and disappearing people. Few media outlets dared to publish anything and those that did publish did so with fear.”
The incoming governor, Miguel Ángel Yunes, won office on an agenda of cleaning up Veracruz. But he was embarrassed earlier this year by a leaked recording in which he can be heard hashing out details of bidding for a $58m New York apartment. Yunes says he never purchased the property.
Analysts say allegations of widespread corruption in state governments are the consequence of political decentralisation over the past 20 years. Over that time, governors – who previously served at the president’s pleasure – gained autonomy and received increased federal funds to spend with little oversight.
According to Federico Estévez, a political science professor at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico, corruption by governors depended on political backing from the national government. “Now, the money is sent to them automatically and there are no countervailing powers,” he said.
The accusations made in three Texas courtrooms were staggering. Witness after witness described how a notorious drug cartel pumped money into Mexican electoral campaigns and paid off individual politicians and policemen in the border state of Coahuila to look the other way as hundreds of people were massacred or forcibly disappeared.
The Texas court testimonies – gathered in a report released this week by the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law and Fray Juan de Larios Diocesan Human Rights Centre in Coahuila – give one of the most complete accounts so far of how organized crime has attempted to capture the institutions of democracy in Mexico’s regions.
The report prompted outrage among activists who have worked with victims of violence. But the accusations were met with sharp denials from Mexican politicians and a pointed lack of interest from judicial officials.
The Mexican public, meanwhile, mostly shrugged, even as the country endures its most violent year on record and the crackdown on organised crime seems unlikely to end anytime soon.
“The lack of action from government is to be expected,” said Jorge Kawas, a security analyst in the city of Monterrey. “But the lack of outrage by Mexicans is just disheartening.
“We’ve become numb to excessive violence. There’s no leadership in government or in the streets and Mexican media is practically useless for holding power accountable.”
Allegations that Mexican politicians have acted in cahoots with drugs cartels have been common for decades, though such accusations have seldom resulted in thorough investigations, let alone criminal convictions. Even after sworn testimony in US courts has described corruption, Mexican officials appear unwilling to act.
“For Mexicans, it’s always sad to hear that the real investigations against crime and corruption in Mexico have to be done elsewhere in order for them to actually mean something or obtain a result,” said Esteban Illades, editor of the magazine Nexos.
Mexico’s militarized crackdown on drug cartels over the past decade has cost more than 200,000 lives and left more than 30,000 missing. But by its own terms, it has been a failure: 2017 is shaping up to be the country’s the most violent year on record.
Los Zetas, a band of elite soldiers who became cartel enforcers and then established their own criminal empire, have been weakened in recent years after their senior leaders were kidnapped or killed and the group split into rival factions.
But from 2006 to 2014 the group terrorised swaths of north-eastern Mexico. In Coahuila, an arid state butting up against Texas, Los Zetas killed hundreds of people and burned their bodies before scattering the ashes in the desert.
The cartel carried out a string of massacres, including a 2011 rampage through the town of Allende which left about 300 dead.
They also spent millions on bribery, according to testimony gathered in this week’s report and given in separate criminal trials between 2013 and 2016.
“The Zetas paid bribes and integrated police officers into their hierarchy to ensure the cartel would be able to continue their illicit operations without resistance,” it said.
“Witnesses described a level of Zeta control which extended to city police chiefs, state and federal prosecutors, state prisons, sectors of the federal police and the Mexican army, and state politicians.”
The report also quoted explosive accusations made in US courts that Los Zetas paid off a pair of Coahuila state governors and pumped millions into state elections elsewhere in the country.
Some observers urged caution, saying witness statements alone – especially from those cooperating the authorities – were not enough to establish guilt.
“These guys clearly have a motive to blame others, to incriminate others. Whatever they’re saying should be read within this context,” said Alejandro Hope, a security analyst.
“It’s hard to believe that in the Zetas’ peak years [in Coahuila state], 2010, 2011, 2012, they had no connections with the state apparatus in Coahuila,” he added. “Did it go to the top? I’m not sure.”
Javier Garza, former editor of the Coahuila newspaper El Siglo de Torreón said that such questions would probably go unanswered by Mexican authorities. “These statements were told under oath so supposedly what they’re saying is true, but it’s never been corroborated because nobody in Mexico investigated.”
After nearly forty years of ugly mismanagement and carelessly ignoring of basic needs of a normally run sovereign state, the military has placed the crusty despot, Robert Mugabe, under house arrest. His wife of many years, Grace, has fled, it is said, to neighboring Namibia, to the west.
One cannot rue this turn of events, as a worse situation can scarcely be envisioned than has been the case for decades.
Military patrol in the capital, Harare.
It is barely useful to speculate on the reaction of the U.S. to these developments, since President Obama paid little attention to the country for eight years. It does not seem likely that President Trump will see much benefit to jumping in, since we have few trade arrangements with the country. Their product lines are marginal at best. The better part of valor, it would seem, might be remaining observational, hands off.
Since 1980, Robert Mugabe has run Zimbabwe with an eye to enriching himself – and making life for his citizenry, including his European-backgrounded farmers, businessmen, and landowners, unnervingly uncomfortable. And enduringly poor.
When Zimbabwe was known as Rhodesia, now a dirty word not ever mentioned in the once bountiful country in southern Africa, it was the breadbasket of that continent. But Rhodesia stopped existing in 1976, replaced by Zimbabwe, run by the egotistical Robert Mugabe. When Mugabe took over, his initial intentions sounded beneficent. He was at that time just ascended to the newly renamed country, something of an idealist. That ebbed rather soon. As the years passed, he reverted to perhaps the unhappy African ruler stereotype: greed, avarice, obliviousness to the needs of his people, and his one-time good intentions were extinguished in a rush of takeovers of land and property. Shortages soon eventuated; inflation ballooned.
Cattle belonging to others now became his, to use or hand out to favored underlings. Food became scarce, as the economy no longer worked, out of balance by decrees that placed price controls unrealistically set and impossible to observe.
My own experience in Zimbabwe, with Canadian friends living in Namibia and Lesotho at the time, was one of sorrow, as we had difficulty obtaining food, bakeries functioned once a week or less, mail was spotty and unreliable, and services were shabby, even in upscale establishments. Cafés and restaurants were amusing, as the term "waiter" meant a shoeless skinny person without the barest knowledge of where the cutlery went and how to serve water, let alone wine.
One bargained with urchins on the streets for fruit, gasoline, household necessities.
The roads were in poor repair. The fantastic riches of the country were in its exotic topography, which resembles the rocky likes of the painted desert, but with colossal rock formations that resemble a giant's playroom, boulders perched precariously and impossibly on each other in random and bizarre formations. And the wildlife, phenomenal clutches of biodiversity and biomass – elephants, zebra, gazelles, dik-dik, antelopes, lions and cougars, and others fleet of foot and hungry of eye. Water is not plentiful, and many of the herds are skinny, their ribs showing from lack of forage and hydration.
White property owners who have resided in the country for many decades have long been disenfranchised and have seen their property stripped, their livestock stolen, depredated by Mugabe's pets, wholesale squatting becoming the norm.
Former owners have salvaged what they could, sealing their few assets inside their clothing hems, as diamonds, or buying multiple air tickets they will convert back to cash once they have landed elsewhere. The country has little it can sell. Industry has languished, unsupported by the rule of dependable law.
Exit restrictions confine the outgoing Zimbabwean emigrant to a paltry few dollars, making selling one's possessions something of a joke. Smuggling jewelry out is a career endeavor in order to leave with something with which to start afresh elsewhere on the continent. Inflation long ago ruined the economy, in a bid to outrace the rocket inflation of Germany in pre-WWII Deutschland. Beer at one point was several million units of local currency.
It remains to be seen what the army can do to correct the misery that has been Zimbabwe for so long.
Meanwhile, the country holds its breath. What will become of these long suffering tribal people?
BURN IN HELL MUGABE! LET US PRAY SATAN TORTURES YOU FOREVER!
Zimbabwe: reports of explosions and takeover of state broadcaster in capital Harare
Military chief accused of ‘treasonable conduct’ amid rumours of coup attempt in Harare, after unprecedented challenge to President Robert Mugabe
Zimbabwe’s capital was in a state of high tension early on Wednesday amid reports of multiple explosions in the streets and soldiers taking over the state broadcaster and manhandling staff.
Witnesses in Harare reported a number of loud explosions and saw armed forces assaulting passers-by in the early hours of the morning.
Soldiers were also seen loading ammunition near a group of four military vehicles. The explosions could be heard near the University of Zimbabwe campus, Reuters reported.
During the drama, the US embassy in the capital tweeted out a message citing “ongoing uncertainty.” A statement later posted by the embassy told US citizens in Zimbabwe to “shelter in place until further notice”.
The British foreign office earlier said it was “aware of reports of military vehicles moving on the outskirts of Harare” and said it was monitoring the situation closely.
Reuters said its reporter in the capital had encountered aggressive soldiers telling passing cars to keep moving through the darkness.
“Don’t try anything funny. Just go,” one said on Harare Drive.
Two hours later, soldiers overran the headquarters of the ZBC, Zimbabwe’s state broadcaster and a principal Mugabe mouthpiece, and ordered staff to leave. Several ZBC workers were manhandled, two members of staff and a human rights activist told Reuers.
Despite the troops stationed at locations across Harare, there was no word from the military as to the fate of President Robert Mugabe.
The extraordinary events happened hours after Zimbabwe’s government accused the head of the armed forces of “treasonable conduct” ratcheting up tension in the southern African nation.
Armed military vehicles had been seen driving through the capital earlier on Tuesday sparking rumours of a coup attempt just a day after the country’s military chief – flanked by other senior officers – warned that he was prepared to “step in” to end a turmoil in the ruling Zanu-PF party.
Witnesses had reported seeing several lorries full of soldiers and at least six armoured vehicles on roads approaching Harare in the late afternoon, though residents said there were no signs of troops at the airport or Mugabe’s official residence.
A second column of military vehicles was later reported moving down the same road.
It remained unclear who ordered the military movement, which came amid an unprecedented challenge to the 93-year-old president from the country’s powerful armed forces.
Nicknamed “The Crocodile” from his time fighting in the country’s liberation wars, Mnangagwa has a strong support base among veterans and also from within the security establishment that he once ran.
He had been considered the mostly likely candidate to succeed Mugabe if the president decided to step down or died in office. Mnangagwa’s downfall and flight into exile was widely seen as paving the way for his arch rival, Mugabe’s 52-year-old wife Grace, to take power instead.
Mugabe’s shock move caused widespread discontent among Mnangagwa’s supporters and exposed deep factional divides within Zanu-PF ranks. On Monday, Gen Constantine Chiwenga, the head of Zimbabwe’s military, called a press conference to warn that troops could intervene if long-term political allies continued to suffer.
“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 said.
“The current purging, which is clearly targeting members of the party with a liberation background, must stop forthwith,” Chiwenga said, in a statement read to reporters at a news conference packed with 90 senior officers from across key units in a show of military unity.
The statement was initially carried on state media, then entirely wiped from the airwaves, but the government was slow to respond, with no word from Mugabe himself.
After a weekly cabinet meeting on Tuesday however, a statement was issued by Simon Khaya-Moyo, the government spokesman and national secretary for information and publicity, accusing Chiwenga of “treasonable conduct”.
“Such conduct stands unreservedly condemned not only in the party ... but also in the [region] and the entire African continent where subversion of constitutional authority is ... regarded as absolute anathema,” the statement read.
The lack of any word from Mugabe himself suggested the president might be on the back foot, however, said Piers Pigou, an expert on Zimbabwe with the International Crisis Group, who is based in neighbouring South Africa.
Mugabe’s failure to issue a clear statement reassuring supporters suggests he “is not in full control,” Pigou said.
“It is very unclear how this will play out and there is a certain amount of wishful thinking from those who would like to see Mugabe arrested or dragged off ... but the president’s silence suggests he may not be in full control of the situation,” he added.
Mugabe’s authoritarian rule has been anchored by support from the military but the ageing leader has systematically dismissed veterans of the liberation struggle from party posts in recent years leaving the top echelons of Zanu-PF stacked with officials who did not fight in the independence war.
War veterans broke ranks with him in 2016 and have vowed to form a broad front with the opposition to challenge his long rule.
Chris Mutsvangwa, the head of the war veterans’ group, told reporters in Johannesburg last week that Grace Mugabe was “a mad woman” who had won power through a “coup ... by marriage certificate”.
The first lady is a deeply divisive figure in Zimbabwe with limited popular support. She has been tarnished by an alleged assault against a model she had found in the company of her sons in a luxury apartment in Johannesburg in September.
Reports of extravagant purchases, including property in South Africa and a Rolls-Royce, have also angered many Zimbabweans. Pictures of one of the first lady’s sons apparently pouring most of a bottle of champagne over a luxury watch worth tens of thousands of dollars in a nightclub were shared widely on social media this week.
The former junior administrator is detested by many of the independence-era war veterans, who once enjoyed a privileged role in the ruling party under Mugabe, but who have increasingly been banished from senior government and party roles in recent years.
New Jersey journalist, 25, is jailed in Zimbabwe and faces up to TWENTY YEARS behind bars for 'tweeting Mugabe is a selfish and sick man' from account which is STILL ACTIVE despite her being behind bars
Martha O'Donovan was arrested in the Zimbabwean capital Harare on Friday
Police say she tweeted 'we are being led by a sick and selfish man' on October 11
It came from a Twitter user who tweets under the handle @matigary
The post included a photograph of Mugabe, 93, which suggested he was using a catheter
They claim it was a crime of subversion against President Robert Mugabe
Officials say they tracked its IP address to O'Donovan's home in Zimbabwe
The woman's lawyers say she is not behind the account which posted the tweet
The 25-year-old NYU graduate faces up to 20 years behind bars if charged
On Saturday, she was held in custody after a brief court hearing in Harare
She will next appear in court on November 15 for a bail hearing
O'Donovan works for local network Magamba TV and is also a bartender
An American woman in Zimbabwe has been jailed for 'insulting' President Robert Mugabe by allegedly tweeting an image of him which suggested he has a catheter from an anonymous account which was still active as she languished behind bars on Saturday.
Martha O'Donovan, 25, was arrested on Friday morning at her home near Harare, the country's capital, and was taken into custody on a charge of insulting or undermining the president.
Police have accused her of being behind the Twitter account @matigary which is critical of Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party. On October 11, @matigary published photographs of Mugabe which they said appeared to show a catheter in his trousers.
The post was captioned: 'We are being led by a very selfish and sick man.' The twitter account is still active and is tweeting about O'Donovan's arrest.
Authorities in Zimbabwe however say they traced the IP address of the October 11 post to O'Donovan's home and they believe she is behind it.
She is now charged with undermining or insulting the president and may face an additional charge of attempting to overthrow the government.
A judge dismissed her lawyers' motion to throw out the arrest warrant on Saturday and she was remanded in custody until November 15 when she will return to court for a bail hearing.
O'Donovan, a graduate of NYU, has been in Zimbabwe for the last year working for the local TV network Magamba and bar tending.
She went to Africa in 2013 to teach young local people how to become radio journalists as part of her NYU fellowship on human rights in Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
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Martha O'Donovan is pictured being led into a truck to be taken to jail on Saturday after a court hearing in Harare, Zimbabwe, where she is charged with insulting and undermining President Robert Mugabe on Twitter
This is the post O'Donovan is accused of writing. It was shared under the Twitter handle @matigary on October 11 and includes a photograph which the user said appeared to show he was using a catheter
Magamba TV, which she now works as a producer for, describes itself the home of 'satirical comedy sensations'.
As news of her arrest emerged on Friday, a #FreeMartha social media campaign calling for her release went viral.
The woman's family in her hometown of Martinsville, New Jersey, have not yet commented on her arrest.
Her arrest warrant states that on October 11, she, under the Twitter handle @matigary, tweeted: 'We are being led by a sick and selfish man'.
She was arrested at around 5am on Friday and was taken into custody and appeared at Harare Magistrates Court on Saturday where she was remanded.
Photographs show her leaving the court with female guards and entering a police truck. It is likely she was taken to Harare Central Prison but yet lawyers have yet to confirm where she is being held.
As she languished in custody, @matigary carried on tweeting about the ordeal and criticizing the president.
'LOL I am in and still tweeting,' said one post on Saturday afternoon.
O'Donovan's arrest is the first of its kind since Mugabe appointed a minister for cybersecurity last month.
It was a move which human rights activists criticized, claiming it infringed on free speech.
In a statement before her court appearance, she said: 'I deny the allegations leveled against me as baseless and malicious.'
O'Donovan, 25, was remanded in custody after a brief hearing on Saturday morning. She is pictured being taken away from Harare Magistrates Court afterwards
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O'Donovan is seen arriving at Harare Magistrates Court on Saturday morning to face the charges
Local media shared a photograph of O'Donovan's arrest warrant. It claims that on October 11, she tweeted: 'We are being led by a selfish and sick man'
On Saturday, the account was still active as O'Donovan languished in jail. Its anonymous user is relentless in their criticism of Mugabe who they refer to as 'Goblin'
They jokingly claimed that they turned themselves in after O'Donovan's arrest but were turned away because they were 'after muzungu' - an African term for foreigners
Mugabe, 93, and his ZANU-PF party are notoriously anti-white and harsh on anyone who dares to criticize the government
O'Donovan, a graduate of New York University, previously referred to herself as a 'media activist.'
Earlier this year, she presented a talk at a republica digital culture conference on 'How Zimbabweans Rebel Online'.
She was previously involved with campaigning for the release of Pastor Evan Mawarire who was jailed last year on similar charges.
She traveled to Africa in 2013 to work for The Children's Radio Foundation where she said her job was to train local young people to become reporters.
O'Donovan was a student at NYU Gallatin and specialized in the study of human rights in African cities.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights says it has represented nearly 200 people charged for allegedly insulting Mugabe, the world's oldest head of state, in recent years.
Martha, 25, is an NYU graduate and was raised in New Jersey
The 25-year-old has been living in Zimbabwe for at least a year and works on local TV station Magamba
O'Donovan also works as a bartender in Avondale, a suburb of the capital Harare
Before she was remanded in custody on Saturday, O'Donovan posed for photographs with her lawyers and with others inside the court. They said she was in 'high spirits' despite the charges
The woman (above arriving at Harare Magistrates Court on Saturday morning) insists she did not send the tweet
Nearly 200 people have been criminally charged with insulting Mugabe, 93 (above with his wife Grace on October 25) in recent years, according to human rights lawyers
Frustration is growing in the once-prosperous southern African nation as the economy collapses and the president, in power since 1980, is already running for next year's elections.
'This arrest marks the start of a sinister new chapter in the Zimbabwean government's clampdown on freedom of speech, and the new battleground is social media,' said Amnesty International's deputy regional director, Muleya Mwananyanda.
The statement said Zimbabwe authorities tracked tweets to O'Donovan's IP address.
'Concerned to hear of Martha O`Donovan's arrest and ongoing detention.
'#Mugabe must stop arresting journalists #FreeMartha,' the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists tweeted on Friday.
INSIDE HARARE PRISON WHERE MUGABE SENDS JOURNALISTS
Martha O'Donovan is not the first journalist or American citizen to be held in Zimbabwe under charges against the president.
Mugabe and the country's police force has a long history of arresting journalists covering elections in the country or others who speak out against the government.
It was not immediately clear on Saturday where O'Donovan will be held until her bail hearing but it is likely she is being kept at Harare Central Prison, a notorious complex which is known for overcrowding and 'decrepit' conditions.
A file image of the Harare Central Remand Prison in Zimbabwe where O'Donovan is likely being held
In 2008, New York Times journalist Barry Bearak described the conditions there after spending several days in a cell. He had been arrested for 'committing journalism' by reporting on the country's elections without accreditation.
Afterwards, he described the 'decrepit' cells which were without electricity and described as some of the 'worst' in the country.
'The hallways were entirely desolate and silent but for the squeaking of our shoes and intermittent drips from exposed pipes.
'At such an ominous time, my senses felt eerily deprived, except for smell. With every step, the odor of the urine-soaked lockup grew a bit stronger,' he said.
Others have described the dense overcrowding and harsh conditions inside.
In 2013, in an apparent show of transparency, the government invited local journalists to choose any of its prisons so that they could report on the conditions themselves.
Local news outlet The Standard visited Harare Central Prison and said they were surprised by the good conditions there.
That led to a warrant being issued for her arrest, though she was eventually granted diplomatic immunity and allowed to leave the country.
In the latest incident Chatunga films himself, brother Robert, and friends partying in a nightclub in Sandton, South Africa, where they are based, according to News 24.
Robert is briefly seen with his arm around a girl before the footage cuts to an image of Chatunga's wrist, complete with watch and gold chain.
Robert is briefly seen in the footage with his arm around a girl (left) before the video cuts to Chatunga performing the champagne stunt (right)
The champagne in question is Armand de Brignac Ace Of Spades Gold, which retails around £200. An empty bottle is seen on a table along with other expensive brands (right)
While it appears to be the same watch he previously bragged about online, it is not clear because of the champagne already flowing over his arm.
The bottle is Armand de Brignac Ace Of Spades gold, which retails for around £200.
A second hand then appears in the frame with another bottle and begins emptying that on the watch too, before both of the empty bottles are displayed for the camera.
More bottles are then displayed on a table before the footage ends.
The video appeared online just weeks after Mrs Mugabe announced she is suing a Lebanese jeweller for failing to deliver a £1million diamond ring she bought to mark her 21st wedding anniversary with the dictator.
Ahmed claims to have received threats from officials from Zimbabwe's spy agencyas well from Grace herself and her son from her first marriage, Russell Goreraza
Goreraza himself is also no stranger to a life of luxury, having reportedly imported two Rolls Royce limousines worth £4million into the country recently.
Chatunga and Robert Jr are the sons of Grace and Robert Mugabe (pictured together today). The boys caused an international incident earlier this year when Mrs Mugabe was accused of beating a model over the head with a plug while looking for them in South Africa
Mrs Mugabe is the favourite to take power from her 93-year-old husband after he sacked his deputy this week for 'disloyalty'
Grace Mugabe is currently suing a Lebanese businessman for failing to deliver a £1million diamond ring she bought to celebrate her wedding anniversary
After the vehicles arrived he is said to have thrown a luxurious party which included free-flowing champagne.
Mrs Mugabe is favourite to succeed her 93-year-old husband after he fired his deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa over claims of 'disloyalty' this week.
Mr Mnangagwa was accused of fanning the flames of unrest after Mrs Mugabe was booed at a rally, before being sacked from his post.
The powerful youth league of the ruling Zanu-PF party quickly endorsed her to replace Mr Mnangagwa, though no announcement has yet been made.
Under Mugabe's leadership the GDP of Zimbabwe has fallen by almost 50 per cent, according to the United Nations.
The country suffered badly during the recession and experienced hyperinflation and a widespread lack of food and other essentials.
Things have recovered since then, but are still significantly worse than when the family took power.