HARARE, November 15 – Dismissed former Zimbabwean Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, has landed Manyame Airforce Base to take control of the country’s government, a source told African News Agency on Wednesday but this could not be officially confirmed.
There are also unconfirmed reports that 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe, his wife Grace, and other members of his close political circle are under house arrest.
Mnangagwa, known as “The Crocodile” was sacked last week amid a row over leadership in the ruling Zanu PF Part of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. Mnangagwa, a veteran of the country’s liberation struggle against white domination, fled to South Africa after death threats.
Zimbabwe’s military has seized control of state television and says is acting against “criminals” surrounding 93-year-old Mugabe but that the president and his family were safe. Major General S.B. Moyo the actions of the country’s defence forces were not a coup. Soldiers, tanks and armoured vehicles are in Harare.
Events have unfolded after the head of the defence forces, General Constantino Chiwenga, warned on Monday that the army would take “drastic action” if factions in Zanu PF did not stop purges against party members with military backgrounds. Zanu PF issued a statement calling Chiwenga’s comments treason.
Chiwenga spoke after the “G40” faction in Zanu PF, which supports Mugabe’s wife Grace for succession, promised to purge all allies believed to be supporting the Lacoste faction, which is said to be sympathetic to Mnangagwa.
Zimbabwe’s military seized control of state television on Wednesday and a spokesman said the army was acting against “criminals” surrounding 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe.
Dressed in military fatigues, Major General S.B. Moyo announced in a live broadcast on ZBC that said Mugabe and his family were safe. Earlier witnesses reported at least three explosions in the capital, Harare. Army road blocks are reported nationwide.
Despite tanks and armoured personnel carriers moving in and around the Zimbabwe capital Harare on Tuesday, Moyo said that the actions of the country’s defence forces were not a coup.
“To both our people and the world beyond our borders, we wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not a military takeover of government,” S.B. Moyo said.
“What the Zimbabwe Defence Forces is doing is to pacify a degenerating political, social and economic situation in our country, which if not addressed may result in a violent conflict,” he said. He asked the public to remain calm but limit unnecessary movement.”
The head of the defence forces, General Constantino Chiwenga, warned on Monday that the army would take “drastic action” if factions in Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party did not stop purges against party members with military backgrounds. Zanu PF issued a statement calling Chiwenga’s comments treason.
Chiwenga was speaking at a press conference attended by military brass. He is a supporter of former deputy president Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was last week sacked by Mugabe amid a row over party leadership succession. Mnangagwa fled to South Africa after death threats.
Chiwenga spoke after the “G40” faction in Zanu PF, which supports Mugabe’s wife Grace for succession, promised to purge all allies believed to be supporting the Lacoste faction, which is said to be sympathetic to Mnangagwa. Chiwenga’s comments were widely interpreted as a thinly veiled coup threat. His whereabouts are unknown
Wednesday morning’s broadcast urged Zimbabweans to “go to work as normal”. The military figure said the army was only taking action against “criminals”.
But Zanu-PF youth league chairperson Kudzanayi Chipanga said Chiwenga did not have the full support of the military and that the league was ready to die defending Mugabe. The youth wing is a strong supporter of Grace Mugabe.
The UK Foreign Office has advised its citizens “currently in Harare to remain safely at home or in their accommodation until the situation becomes clearer”. The US Embassy has also advised its citizens to “shelter in place” until further notice.
Zimbabwe’s state television, ZBC, early on Wednesday morning carried a live broadcast in which a man in military fatigues, identified as Major General SB Moyo, said 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe and his family “were safe”.
The impromptu broadcast came amid mounting fears of an army takeover in response to the sacking of Mugabe’s deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa. Earlier at least three explosions were heard in the capital, Harare.
The message urged Zimbabweans to “go to work as normal”. The military figure said the army was only taking action against “criminals”.
It remained unclear where commander General Constantino Chiwenga was hours after Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF said his comments on Monday warning the army would step in were tantamount to treason.
On Tuesday army tanks moved into the capital heightening fears of a military take over. Mugabe himself chaired a cabinet meeting that ended in the evening.
Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo, in a statement Tuesday night, said what Chiwenga suggested “treasonable conduct” on his part.
He said the military supremo’s statement was “not only surprising, but an outrageous violation of professional soldiership and his wartime record as a high-ranking freedom fighter.
“Clearly calculated to disturb national peace and stability, the statement by General Constantino Chiwenga, which was not signed, and which did not represent the rest of the command element, suggests treasonable conduct on his part, as this was meant to incite insurrection and violent challenge to the constitutional order,” Khaya Moyo said.
“Indeed, this is what happens when the gun seeks to overreach by dictating to politics and norms of constitutionality. As the party running the democratically elected Government of Zimbabwe, Zanu PF will never succumb to any threats, least of all, those deriving from conduct that is inconsistent with the tenets of democracy and constitutionality.
“Not too far back, the Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces [Mugabe] reminded members of the uniformed forces of their subordinate place and role, viz-a-viz: the political authority of the land. By yesterday’s reprehensible conduct, it would appear that this wise counsel not only went unheeded, but was flagrantly flouted in deference to factional politics and personal ambitions.
“Such conduct stands unreservedly condemned not only in the party, but also in our Southern African region and the entire African continent, where subversion of constitutional authority is frowned upon and regarded as an absolute anathema.”
Rumours abounded on Tuesday night that Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe had sacked the outspoken Defence Forces Minister Constantino Chiwenga for criticising the ruling Zanu PF part and threatening military intervention but a source denied the rumour.
A source based at KGVI military headquarters, where Chiwenga’s offices are, denied the rumour, saying Chiwenga was still in charge. Chiwenga’s contract expires on December 5. ANA repeatedly tried to reach the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) spokesperson Colonel Overson Mugwisi for confirmation but could not reach him.
On Monday, Chiwenga said that the military would take “drastic action” if factions in Zanu PF failed to stop purging party members with a military background.
A masterstroke is allegedly underway in Zimbabwe, with social media reports maintaining that the Chief General Constantino Chiwenga has apparently given President Robert Mugabe 24 to resign from the office following the sacking of his second-in-command Emmerson Mnangagwa.
According to reports three army tanks were seen along the Chinhoyi-Harare highway in the afternoon raising fears that the army was about to stage a masterstroke in the politically volatile nation.
Nevertherless, Zanu-PF Youth League Secretary Kudzanai Chipanga said in a statement released on Tuesday that Zanu-PF youths would come out in “their millions” to defend their President from a possible army take-over of the country.
It is confirmed Zimbabwe is now under the military rule for the first time in 37 years.
The army have been behind the ruling party since independence as most of the army generals fought during the Chimurenga liberation struggle.
They witnessed the dismissal of Teurai Ropa Nhongo Mujuru who was one of the Chimurenga cadres being humiliated like someone who did not sacrifice their blood and sweat for Zimbabwe. The previous week the noticed the inhuman sacrifice made towards another liberation cadre Dambudzo Mnangagwa.
General Chiwenga has warned the politicians that the country belongs to the war veterans who put their life on the line. He reminded the politicians that they are civilians who work for the citizens. He also asked the citizens not worry about anything but to enjoy the freedom they fought for.
The army has refused to be silenced by the president’s wife who wanted to highjack power with her G40 friends in Zanu PF deviating from the Zanla forces agreement before independence.
The army will dismiss the govt and parliament and take control of the status quo and suspend the impending elections.
That will allow Dambudzo to gather his followers and be voted back in the party thereby booting out the Mugabe family in the process. Chiwenga and others were fired and they refused to step down and now they have taken control of the country.
The security branch CIO is now reporting to General Chiwenga as acting head of state. There are discussions already to bring back Joyce Mujuru as Vice to Mnangagwa alongside Tsvangirai. This will be a transitional govt appointed by the army to pave way for fresh elections giving time for Zanu PF to sort themselves out.
The army has now started doing Police patrols in all cities of Zimbabwe protecting the citizens from Police.
WeeklyXposé has reliably been informed that the Zimbabwean army is on standby awaiting further instructions, depending on whether President Robert Mugabe fires the country’s army Chief General Contantino Chiwenga.
This follows the press conference Chiwenga held on Monday at which he warned Mugabe to stop purging ruling ZANU-PF members with liberation struggle background.
Chiwenga was referring to the recent sacking of Emmerson Mnangagwa from ZANU-PF and from his position as Mugabe’s second-in-command.
Our sources in Zimbabwe tell us that Mugabe is locked up in a meeting with the army generals who are demanding his resignation and the immediate return of Mnangagwa from exile.
Sources say Mugabe wanted to flee the country but the generals refused. WeeklyXposé has reliably been informed that those close to the army chiefs and ZANU-PF politicians have been warned to stay indoors.
more updates on the story to follow…