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The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa) has condemned what it described as “a coup” against President Robert Mugabe’s government in Zimbabwe.

In a statement, Numsa, general secretary Irvin Jim, said: “The army in Zimbabwe has taken over power through a military coup and no amount of concealment of this most obvious of facts can change the ugly reality of the unconstitutional military takeover of power in Zimbabwe.”

Numsa said that it had noted with shock the silence of western powers over the military takeover.

“We have noted the muted and often absent condemnation of the military coup from almost all capitals of Western Powers, where Mugabe was reviled and his death long wished for. From these there is the call for a smooth return to constitutional rule and stability, and the worthless pleas for the observance of human rights and protection of human life,” said Jim.

The union said, however, that it was not in anyway backing Mugabe, as he was the cause of the country’s economic misery.

Potentially ruthless military dictatorship

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Numsa said that it had no doubt that although the millions of Zimbabweans were not sure of what the future prospects were, they were relieved that “Mugabe and his family are gone from the political scene in Zimbabwe”.

The union warned that even though the military coups promised change in the beginning, they often led to more “corruption and strife for the working poor”.

Numsa called on the working class people in the southern African nation to be vigilant as they were likely to be led by “an authoritarian” or “a potentially ruthless military dictatorship”.

“There are powerful lessons from Zimbabwe and from the rest of the continent for the working class in our more than half a century of post colonialism, that fretting with socialism without actually overthrowing capitalism and imperialism, has always ended in deeper and more sustained misery for the working class and rural poor populations of Africa.”

This came as thousands of Zimbabweans flocked into the country’s capital to demand President Mugabe’s resignation on Saturday.

The march to State House wax backed by the army, which seized power on Wednesday.

Demonstrations were also expected to take place at City Hall in Bulawayo, the second city.

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