Zimbabwe’s military has taken over the public broadcaster and other public buildings in what looks like a coup, a day after they issued threats to the ruling Zanu PF party to stop the purge of former liberation fighters.
Update: Two ministers who had sought refuge in Mugabe’s residence were picked up by soldiers late Wednesday. It wasn’t long before the youth league head of the ruling ZANU-PF also appeared on state TV to apologize for his utterances.
I can now confirm that Cabinet Ministers Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere have been picked up from President Mugabe's “Blue Roof residence to KGV1 Military Barracks #Zimbabwe— Trevor Ncube (@TrevorNcube) November 15, 2017
Comrade Chipanga was among the first to be arrested by the army along with Finance Minister. Hours before his arrest, he had said the youth were ready to shed blood to protect President Mugabe.
We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are bringing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice.
Zanu PF youth chair Chipanga issues apology to Generals pic.twitter.com/sGNTk3irim— conrad mwanawashe (@Connmwanawashe) November 15, 2017
What the army has said so far
The army denied staging a coup in an early morning television broadcast on the state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation stating that they are targeting criminals around Mugabe.
“We wish to assure the nation that His Excellency Mugabe and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed. We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are bringing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice,” the army said.
They ordered the civil servants, judiciary and parliament to go ahead with their duties without fear of being obstructed. They also called on the public to remain calm and “limit unnecessary movement”.
The military’s announcement follows hours speculations after armoured cars were seen blocking roads to the presidency and other state institutions.
The army commander’s warning on Monday was described as treasonous by the Zanu PF party and the youth league which accused General Constantino Chiwenga of illegally interfering in politics.
The army and war veterans expressed displeasure at the sack of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who was also sacked from the party after rifts with Grace Mugabe and her faction over Mugabe’s succession.
The army says the insecurity in the party is creating instability in the country which they want to address.