Tensions rise in Zimbabwe as military in outskirts of capital

Grace Mugabe talks to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa at a gathering of the ZANU-PF Politburo in 2016
Credit PHILIMON BULAWAYO  Reuters

Grace Mugabe talks to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa at a gathering of the ZANU-PF Politburo in 2016 Credit PHILIMON BULAWAYO Reuters

Zimbabwe's ruling party has accused the head of the armed forces of treason as military tanks drove through the outskirts of the capital of Harare.

But his downfall appeared to pave the way for his wife Grace to succeed her 93-year-old husband.

On Monday, top army general Constantino Chiwenga warned Mugabe that the military will "step in" if the president continues to expel former liberation fighters from the ruling Zanu-PF party who are supporters of the sacked vice president.

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.

The party said his comments were "clearly calculated to disturb national peace..."

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Moyo said ZANU-PF will never succumb to the military's threats as they were inconsistent with the tenets of democracy and constitutionalism. Whilst reports on social media seem to imply that a coup is underway, Khuluma Afrika understands that military presence has been increased there to improve security in the face of growing uncertainty in the country.

Moyo's released the statement after a day when armored military vehicles were seen around the capital, Harare.

Mnangagwa, 75, was widely viewed as Mugabe's most loyal lieutenant, having worked alongside him for decades.

Ninety-three year old President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is in trouble.

"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.

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"It is very unclear how this will play out and there is a certain amount of wishful thinking from those who would like to see Mugabe arrested or dragged off. but his silence suggests an executive which is not in charge of the situation", he added.

He fled the country and is thought to be in South Africa after issuing a searing five-page condemnation of Grace's ambition and Mugabe's leadership.

"Chiwenga threw down the gauntlet to Mugabe.it would make sense for Chiwenga to organise some military manoeuvres to up the ante".

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.

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