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Update: Four tanks were seen heading towards the Zimbabwe capital Harare on Tuesday, witnesses said, a day after the head of the armed forces said he was prepared to “step in” to end a purge of supporters of ousted vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Zimbabwe military tanks reportedly moving into the capital Harare pic.twitter.com/ad3rHKBmm3
— Noko Mokwele (@Mokwelen) November 14, 2017
JUST IN: Two tanks parked beside main road 20 km outside Harare, facing the Zimbabwe capital – Reuters witness pic.twitter.com/RSj058E6Wn
— Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) November 14, 2017
For what its worth, no foreign embassies in Zimbabwe have as yet issued any advisories noting unusual troop movements in Harare. Their actions amid uncertain political developments is often best gauge of situation available
— Ryan Cummings (@Pol_Sec_Analyst) November 14, 2017
Mnangagwa, 75, a long-serving veteran of Zimbabwe’s 1970s liberation wars, had been viewed as a likely successor to Mugabe before the president fired him on Nov. 6.
His downfall appeared to pave the way for Mugabe’s wife Grace to succeed the 93-year-old president, the only leader Zimbabwe has known in 37 years of independence.
Is a coup underway in Zimbabwe? The deployment of troops looks like it. We are told the Blue House has been condorned off. pic.twitter.com/t456CWncPb
— Bla B (@bmusonza) November 14, 2017
In an unprecedented step, the head of the armed forces, Constantino Chiwenga, openly threatened to intervene in politics on Monday if the purge of war veterans did not stop.
“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 in a statement read to reporters at a news conference packed with top brass on Monday.
Grace Mugabe, 52, has developed a strong following in the powerful youth wing of the ruling ZANU-PF party. Her rise has brought her into conflict with 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. (Reuters)
— Tumi Sole (@tumisole) November 14, 2017
Zimbabwe’s army chief has called for an immediate end to purges within President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party following the dismissal last week of the country’s vice president.
In a rare statement, General Constantino Chiwenga warned on Monday that the military could intervene if the infighting in the ruling ZANU-PF did not stop.
“The current purging which is clearly targeting members of the party with a liberation background must stop forthwith,” Chiwenga told a media conference in the capital, Harare.
“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, adding that the instability was causing anxiety in the country.
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who joined the struggle for Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle at a young age, was sacked by Mugabe on November 6 for showing “traits of disloyalty”.
Explaining the reasons for Mnangagwa dismissal, information minister Simon Khaya Moyo said: “The vice president has consistently and persistently exhibited traits of disloyalty, disrespect, deceitfulness and unreliability.
“It had become evident that his conduct in his discharge of his duties had become inconsistent with his official responsibilities.”
It had also cleared the way for Mugabe’s wife, Grace, to succeed her husband. Zimbabwe’s first lady leads the ruling party’s Women’s League, and has been endorsed as a potential candidate for the vice presidency by some structures within ZANU-PF.
The day before Mnangagwa’s removal, Grace Mugabe called the vice president a “coup plotter” and a “coward” in a speech that shook ZANU-PF.
The speech came a day after Mugabe publicly criticised Mnangagwa for the first time during a speech at a rally on November 4.
Some powerful army generals backed Mnangagwa to succeed Mugabe and have publicly said they will not allow someone who did not fight in the 1970s independence war to rule. Grace Mugabe, 52, did not fight in that war.
Relations between Zimbabwe’s leader and his former vice president soured in August after hints by Mnangagwa’s allies that he had been poisoned by ice cream from a dairy owned by the Mugabes.
Mugabe, who has been leading Zimbabwe since it gained independence in 1980, intends to contest elections due next year and does not face a united opposition. (Al Jazeera)
Four tanks were seen heading towards the Zimbabwe capital Harare on Tuesday, a day after the head of the armed forces said he was prepared to “step in” to end a purge of supporters of ousted vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa. (Reuters says)
(Pics by @AmichaiStein1 ) pic.twitter.com/VHyvge8I4r
— CGTN Africa (@cgtnafrica) November 14, 2017
Source: Reuters / Al Jazeera
— Neil Coleman (@NeilColemanSA) November 14, 2017