Published: Wed, November 15, 2017
Industry | By Dora Warner

Tensions rise in Zimbabwe as military in outskirts of capital

Tensions rise in Zimbabwe as military in outskirts of capital

His statement came after President Robert Mugabe last week fired ex-vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, his political ally for more than 40 years, on allegations of disloyalty and deceit.

Army leaders are at odds with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and his ruling party.

"The current purging ... targeting members of the party with a liberation background must stop forthwith", he said.

There has been a crackdown on freedom of expression in the southern African nation in recent months, with a U.S. woman arrested for allegedly calling President Robert Mugabe "a goblin" in a tweet.

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The party said his comments were "clearly calculated to disturb national peace..."

eNCA's Zimbabwean correspondent Pindai Dube confirmed the tanks were visible in the streets of Harare, with sources indicating it was a "show of force" rather than a coup.

The former junior administrator is detested by numerous 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.

It said it stood by the "primacy of politics over the gun" and accused General Chiwenga of "treasonable conduct ... meant to incite insurrection".

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The party appears split over the succession with the G40 faction supporting Grace and another faction, that includes war veterans, rooting for the ousted Mnangagwa.

"We will not fold out hands to allow a creature of the constitution to subvert the very constitution which establishes it", said Kudzai Chipanga, who leads the Zanu-PF Youth League, said at the party's headquarters in Harare.

Analysts said if Mugabe responded to Chiwenga's statement, he would be compelled to choose sides between war veterans and the young turks rallying behind his wife. He has to declare his allegiance.

"What we are witnessing is the military saying: "We are willing to intervene if the red line is crossed".

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She is now expected to be appointed vice-president at a special Zanu-PF congress next month.

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