The rest of Southern Africa is being warned to stay out of Zimbabwe's affairs after a military coup removed President Robert Mugabe from power.

A former Zimbabwean High Court judge, who now lives in New Zealand, said the Southern African Development Community - SADC - should not feel tempted to intervene politically.

SADC is comprised of 15 countries in Southern Africa, including Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Judge Ben Paradza said SADC has been silent on Mugabe's actions for a long time.

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"The only problem I foresee happening is once the regional body - SADC - tries to intervene and tries to use force. I think that's where things may go wrong, and that's why people in general feel SADC should stay out," Paradza told NZME.

"They haven't been coming to the aid of people for a long time. They've been very passive. Now that the people have taken their own initiative to free themselves from a tyrant, they come closer to try steal the show and pretend they're helping the people.

"Why have they not been helping before? Where were they when people were beaten up and killed and elections were rigged? Why are they coming in now?"

Paradza said the removal of Mugabe is a good change, and "good enough for most people". The military said Mugabe and his wife, Grace Mugabe, are under house arrest.

Paradza expects former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa - who was sacked nine days ago - to take power as president in the near future.

Analysts say Mnangagwa's removal was the catalyst for the military to dramatically seize power and remove Mugabe across thirty controversy-filled years as president.

They say Mnangagwa could be restored as vice-president this week and, at a meeting of the ruling Zanu-PF party next month, be sworn in as acting president.