ZIMBABWE ON KNIFE EDGE?
A video of tankers said to be heading to Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, set social media ablaze as rumours of a coup swelled yesterday.
HARARE: While business and all other life continued normally in Harare yesterday, many were concerned about four armoured troop carriers that were moving south towards the capital late in the afternoon. Some media reported the vehicles were tanks.
There was regular traffic around President Robert Mugabe’s huge private residence in the northern Borrowdale suburb late in the afternoon, all the roads were as normal around State House, and no extra police or members of the Presidential Guard had been deployed, according to several people who live nearby.
Embassies also did not issue any security alert to suggest that a coup was unfolding in the impoverished country.
Others said they had not noticed any unusual events or unusual presence of the army or police since armed forces commander Constantine Chiwenga demanded on Monday that President Robert Mugabe immediately cease “purging” allies of Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was sacked from his vice-president’s job a week ago and fled to Mozambique, and then South Africa.
Police raided a small NGO, Magamba, late yesterday. Its manager, US citizen Martha O’Donovan, was released on bail on Monday after being accused of tweeting messages critical of Mugabe, charges she denies.
“It feels just like any other day,” said a businessman who had just driven through the centre of Harare and asked not to be identified. “We presume any coup plotters would know that Zimbabwe would run out of fuel in a week or so, and that South Africa would likely cut off electricity. Zimbabwe is a landlocked country and cannot survive if all borders close.”
Earlier in the day, ruling Zanu-PF youth leader Kudzai Chipanga held a press conference in Harare, but blocked some media from attending. “We, as the Zanu-PF youth league, are a lion which has awakened and found its voice, therefore we will not sit idly and fold our hands while cheap potshots and threats are made against Mugabe,” he said. He accused Chiwenga of theft of billions of rand.
Not all army seniors support Chiwenga and his ally, Mnangagwa, and some seniors are close to the other Zanu-PF faction, G40 – loyal to first lady Grace Mugabe and her crew of more junior members of Zanu-PF. – Foreign Service
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