Published: Wed, November 15, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Zimbabwe army in control, Mugabe 'safe and sound'

Zimbabwe army in control, Mugabe 'safe and sound'

The ruling ZANU-PF party on Tuesday accused army chief General Constantino Chiwenga of "treasonable conduct" after he criticised Mugabe for sacking vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

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.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe army said once mission accomplished, "situation will return to normalcy". He said: "We wish to assure the nation that his Excellency, the president... and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed".

The reports follow a tense evening after Zimbabwe's ruling party accused the head of the armed forces of treason as tanks and troops took up positions around the capital, escalating a "rupture" between Mr Mugabe and the military's top brass.

"We are only targeting criminals around him (Mugabe) who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice", Zimbabwe Major General SB Moyo, Chief of Staff Logistics said.

Zimbabwe Defence Forces Major General SB Moyo makes an announcement on state broadcaster ZBC, in this still image taken from a November 15, 2017 video. Grace Mugabe, 52, has support in the party's youth wing and is believed to have engineered the firing of another vice president, Joice Mujuru, in 2014.

Although the military are claiming this is not a coup, it certainly has all the hallmarks of one.

Mr Mugabe shakes hands with then prime minister Margaret Thatcher in 1980
Image Robert Mugabe shakes hands with then prime minister Margaret Thatcher in 1980

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

The dismissal of Vice President Mnangagwa, a former defence minister and a favourite to succeed Mr. Mugabe, appears to be the tipping point. The military has said it would only back a leader who participated in the liberation and has intervened to tamp down outside opposition.

"From the direction of his house, we heard about 30 or 40 shots fired over three or four minutes soon after 2:00 a.m.", AFP quoted witnesses close to Mugabe's compound as saying.

The ZANU PF Twitter account retweeted a message from the party's youth league that said: "The army is simply effecting a National Democratic Project and it's doing so with peaceful aplomb".

It's looking increasingly likely Robert Mugabe will indeed be ousted from power in the near future, and he's getting Grace Mugabe out of Zimbabwe.

"Let it be clear that we intend to address the human security threats in our country".

The military's intervention came after a period of unrest within Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF. Apparently referring to Mugabe, the tweet said "an elderly man who had been taken advantage of by his wife [was] detained".

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