Panic as tanks roll into Harare

Zim­babwe army sources say its rou­tine train­ing

Daily Dispatch - - World News - By NHLALO NDABA

ADAY af­ter is­su­ing a stern warn­ing to Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe and the rul­ing ZanuPF‚ Zim­bab­wean mil­i­tary forces have taken part in a train­ing rou­tine‚ spark­ing panic in the coun­try’s cap­i­tal.

Army trucks and tanks were spot­ted along Chin­hoyi Road in Harare.

Images shared on so­cial me­dia have sent some Zim­bab­weans into panic mode‚ fear­ing that the army could spring a sur­prise in re­tal­i­a­tion to a speech made by the Zanu-PF Youth League (YL) ear­lier today.

The YL hit out at the mil­i­tary‚ af­ter the com­man­der of the Zim­babwe Na­tional Army‚ Gen­eral Con­stan­tine Chi­wenga‚ crit­i­cised Zanu-PF for sack­ing vice-pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa and purg­ing se­nior party mem­bers aligned to him.

The gen­eral’s stance is a di­rect at­tack on Mu­gabe‚ who told the army in no un­cer­tain terms that it should not in­ter­fere in party pol­i­tics‚ be­cause “pol­i­tics lead the gun”.

“Tar­get­ing peo­ple with a lib­er­a­tion back­ground must stop forth­with‚” Chi­wenga said at a me­dia con­fer­ence in Harare on Mon­day.

Chi­wenga added that Zanu-PF had been hi­jacked by counter-rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies whose agenda is to de­stroy it from within.

“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.

Yes­ter­day‚ the YL hit back‚ say­ing the mil­i­tary should not en­ter the po­lit­i­cal do­main.

Within hours of these state­ments‚ army ve­hi­cles were seen pa­trolling Harare‚ caus­ing alarm.

Mil­i­tary sources told the Daily Dis­patch that the trucks are part of a train­ing rou­tine at Inkomo Bar­racks‚ one of the army’s gar­risons‚ and that these train­ing ex­er­cises were al­ways car­ried out on a Tues­day.

“We are used to these drills – [it’s] noth­ing sur­pris­ing – but with the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion‚ peo­ple have be­come alarmist‚” said a res­i­dent.

Other Harare res­i­dents are con­cerned that the sit­u­a­tion could es­ca­late. “We want Zanu-PF out‚ but a coup is not the so­lu­tion‚” said a street ven­dor. “We don’t want a cursed na­tion – a lot has hap­pened in coun­tries such as the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo‚ and we don’t want that.”

Vet­eran MDC op­po­si­tion politi­cian David Coltart‚ on his Face­book wall‚ said Zim­bab­weans should guard against coup ele­ments.

“At this time of na­tional peril in #Zim­babwe‚ it is crit­i­cal that all pa­tri­ots de­mand that the con­sti­tu­tion be scrupu­lously ad­hered to – for it is the only ob­jec­tive in­stru­ment which binds us and gives us a sure foun­da­tion for the fu­ture‚” he wrote.

Zim­bab­weans are ea­gerly wait­ing for Mu­gabe to re­spond to Chi­wenga’s state­ment. — DDC

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