Zimbabwe military denies coup as it takes control over state broadcaster
Armoured vehicles were seen on the streets near the capital Harare on Tuesday and prolonged gunfire erupted near President Robert Mugabe private residence in the suburb of Borrowdale.
Zimbabwe's army has denied the reports of a ‘coup’ in an address on state TV and reassured the country that President Robert Mugabe was safe and sound.
According to Zimbabwean military officers, they were targeting "criminals around him" who have sent the nation spinning into economic despair.
"It is not a military takeover of government. We wish to assure the nation that his excellency the president... and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed. We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes... As soon as we have accomplished our mission we expect that the situation will return to normalcy," said one general reading a statement.
#Zimbabwe army says once mission accomplished, 'situation will return to normalcy,' reports AP— ANI (@ANI) November 15, 2017
The statement was made hours after the army took control of the state Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC). Some staff at ZBC were manhandled when soldiers took over their offices in Harare late on Tuesday evening, according to informed sources.
Armoured vehicles were seen on the streets near the capital Harare on Tuesday and prolonged gunfire erupted near President Robert Mugabe private residence in the suburb of Borrowdale triggering speculations about a coup as army commander had last week threatened to ‘step in’ to calm political tensions over 93-year-old President Mugabe's possible successor.
Zimbabwe army spokesman on state broadcaster says 'this is not a military takeover', reports Associated Press— ANI (@ANI) November 15, 2017
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party accused army chief General Constantino Chiwenga on Tuesday of "treasonable conduct".
Mugabe sacked Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week, amid a row over succession.
Mnangagwa, who had previously been seen as an heir to the president, had clashed repeatedly with Mugabe's wife Grace Mugabe and First Lady before being ousted. The First Lady is now the clear front-runner.
Mugabe, who has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980, was still holding onto power. He is the world's oldest head of state, but his poor health has fuelled a bitter succession battle as potential replacements jockey for position.