Possible military coup in Zimbabwe, as tanks roll towards Robert Mugabe's capital

Frederick Owens
November 15, 2017

Witnesses in the city reported several lorries full of military personnel and at least six armoured vehicles on roads approaching the city in the late afternoon, though residents said there was no sign of troops in the centre of Harare, the airport, government broadcasters or the residence of president Robert Mugabe.

Mnangagwa had always been tipped as Mugabe's most likely successor but has in recent months increasingly come into conflict with first lady Grace Mugabe, who is vying to replace the 93-year-old president.

This comes a day after Gen. Constantino Chiwenga, commander of Zimbabwe Defence Forces, said he was prepared to "step in" to end a purge of supporters of ousted vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mugabe's 37 years in power has been anchored by support from the military, which has always said it will not back anyone for president who did not fight in the liberation war. Several tanks were seen moving near the Zimbabwean capital Harare on November 14, 2017.

The ruling party will next month hold an extra ordinary congress to reaffirm Mugabe's candidature in next year's presidential elections and also amend the party constitution to allow for a female vice president.

"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", Chiwenga said in a statement read to reporters at the news conference.

"We are surprised to see these army tanks along the Chinhoyi-Harare highway".

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Earlier this year the country was gripped by a freakish spat between Grace and Mnangagwa that included an alleged ice-cream poisoning incident that laid bare the pair's rivalry.

The history of the revolution could not be rewritten by people who were not part of it, Chiwenga told the press conference which was also attended by the top brass in the military.

"As a result of the squabbling, there has been no meaningful development in the country for the past five years".

"Please continue with your lives and face up to your own problems", tweeted the country's ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF).

Chiwenga's remarks came after President Robert Mugabe last week fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, his political ally for more than 40 years, on allegations of disloyalty and deceit.

Chiwenga said if this happens, the military will interject and stop the process.

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