Mil­i­tary is now in Zimbabwe’s cap­i­tal

The Maui News - - WORLD -

HARARE, Zimbabwe — At least three ex­plo­sions were heard in Zimbabwe’s cap­i­tal early to­day and mil­i­tary ve­hi­cles were seen in the streets af­ter the army com­man­der threat­ened to “step in” to calm po­lit­i­cal ten­sions over 93-yearold Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe’s pos­si­ble suc­ces­sor. The rul­ing party ac­cused the com­man­der of “trea­son­able con­duct.”

The U.S. Em­bassy closed to the pub­lic and en­cour­aged cit­i­zens to shel­ter in place, cit­ing “the on­go­ing po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty through the night.” The Bri­tish em­bassy is­sued a sim­i­lar warn­ing, cit­ing “re­ports of un­usual mil­i­tary ac­tiv­ity.”

For the first time, this south­ern African na­tion is see­ing an open rift be­tween the mil­i­tary and Mu­gabe, the world’s old­est head of state who has ruled since in­de­pen­dence from white mi­nor­ity rule in 1980. The mil­i­tary has been a key pil­lar of his power.

The Associated Press saw armed sol­diers as­sault­ing passers-by in the early morn­ing hours in Harare, as well as sol­diers loading am­mu­ni­tion near a group of four mil­i­tary ve­hi­cles. The de­vel­op­ments came sev­eral hours af­ter the AP saw three ar­mored per­son­nel car­ri­ers in a con­voy head­ing to­ward an army bar­racks just out­side the cap­i­tal.

Mu­gabe last week fired Vice Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa and ac­cused him of plot­ting to take power, in­clud­ing through witchcraft. Mnan­gagwa, who en­joyed the mil­i­tary’s back­ing and once was seen as a po­ten­tial pres­i­dent, fled the coun­try and said he had been threat­ened. Over 100 se­nior of­fi­cials al­legedly sup­port­ing him have been listed for dis­ci­plinary mea­sures by a fac­tion associated with Mu­gabe’s wife, Grace.

The first lady now ap­pears po­si­tioned to re­place Mnan­gagwa as one of the coun­try’s two vice pres­i­dents at a spe­cial con­fer­ence of the rul­ing party in De­cem­ber, lead­ing many in Zimbabwe to sus­pect that she could suc­ceed her hus­band. Grace Mu­gabe is un­pop­u­lar with some Zim­bab­weans be­cause of lav­ish spend­ing as many strug­gle, and four peo­ple ac­cused of boo­ing her at a re­cent rally were ar­rested.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.