Zim mil­i­tary ac­tiv­ity sparks coup fears

The New Age (KwaZulu-Natal) - - Front Page - NTOMBI NKOSI ntombin@the­newage.co.za

Ru­mours of a pos­si­ble coup to get rid of Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe swirled yes­ter­day amid re­ports of four army tanks mak­ing their way to Zim­babwe cap­i­tal Harare from the Inkomo bar­racks. How­ever, a wit­ness close to the pres­i­dent dis­missed it.

“It is not a coup, this is an army base. The army is mov­ing tanks to the cap­i­tal. This is in view of Zim­babwe army chief Gen Con­stan­tine Chi­wenga’s warn­ing on Mon­day that the mil­i­tary would step in if the po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion de­gen­er­ates into a chaotic sit­u­a­tion,” the source said.

Chi­wenga was heard say­ing: “The cur­rent purg­ing which is clearly tar­get­ing mem­bers of the party with a lib­er­a­tion back­ground must stop forth­with.”

This comes af­ter the sack­ing of vi­cepres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa.

A lo­cal jour­nal­ist said the Zanu- PF Youth As­sem­bly warned that they would de­fend Mu­gabe, fol­low­ing Chi­wenga’s remarks that he would or­gan­ise mil­i­tary of­fi­cials to un­seat the Con­sti­tu­tion­ally-elected gov­ern­ment.

“The mood is tense po­lit­i­cally. Uni­formed forces have been de­ployed in the CBD. There has been no of­fi­cial com­mu­ni­ca­tion from the au­thor­i­ties as to what is re­ally hap­pen­ing. As I am speak­ing to you, army gen­er­als are meet­ing at head­quar­ters but what they are dis­cussing, I don’t know, ” the wit­ness said.

He said Mu­gabe was chair­ing the cab­i­net while all of this was hap­pen­ing.

A Harare res­i­dent, Nqaba Ndlovu, said he was not aware of any pos­si­ble coup.

“I heard the army was train­ing and do­ing what it is sup­posed to do, I don’t think there can be a coup in Zim­babwe,” he said.

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

TENSE SIT­U­A­TION: The move­ment of tanks into cen­tral Harare have sparked ru­mours of a pos­si­ble mil­i­tary coup in Zim­babwe.

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