Power slips from Mugabe as military steps in

Cheryl Sanders
November 15, 2017

CODE President Elton Mangoma, said the coup which has been staged against President Robert Mugabe's government by the Zimbabwe National Army should translate into an early free and fair election. A Harare resident told AFP that gunfire erupted near President Robert Mugabe's private residence in Borrowdale in Harare in the early hours of Wednesday.

The leader of Zimbabwe's influential liberation war veterans called Wednesday for South Africa, southern Africa and the West to re-engage with Zimbabwe after the military seized power from 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe.

Two hours later, soldiers overran the headquarters of the ZBC, Zimbabwe's state broadcaster and a principal Mugabe mouthpiece, and ordered staff to leave.

Moyo sought to reassure the nation, saying Mugabe and his family "are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed".

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Referring to Mugabe, who has held power since 1980, he said: "We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice".

ZANU-PF responded by accusing the commander of "treasonable conduct meant to disturb national peace and incite insurrection".

Tensions were raised further on Tuesday when armoured vehicles were seen taking up positions on roads outside Harare, although their goal was unclear.

"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", he said.

The added presence of troops as night fell and civilians went home - including the movement of at least six armoured personnel carriers from a barracks north-west of Harare - further sparked rumours of a coup against Mr Mugabe, although there was still no evidence Mr Mugabe had been ousted.

The public dispute has presented a major test for President Mugabe, who is in increasingly frail health.

Mugabe and his wife grace, who is 41 years his junior.

Chiwenga made an unprecedented announcement Monday that the army was prepared to intervene to halt party infighting and the purging of veterans, such as Vice President Mnangagwa, who fought Zimbabwe's independence war.

In a statement attributed to Mnangagwa at the time he reportedly left for self-imposed exile, he promised to return to Zimbabwe to "lead" the country, warning Mugabe that the ZANU PF party was not his personal property.

The United States embassy in Harare said it would not open on Wednesday "due to uncertainty" and urged its citizens to "shelter in place". A potential flashpoint could come next week, when supporters of Mnangagwa plan to march against Mugabe in Harare.

Three men and a woman were also arrested after they allegedly booed Grace Mugabe at a ruling party rally.

Martin Rupiya, an expert on Zimbabwe military affairs, said the army appeared to be moving to put the squeeze on Mr Mugabe.

Other reports by iNewsToday