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Army tanks seen heading towards Harare amid rising tensions between Mugabe and the military

14/11/2017 00:00:00
by UK Bureau I The Independent UK
 
Falling out with his generals ... President Robert Mugabe
 
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- 30 top Generals at Chiwenga’s side

ARMY tanks were allegedly spotted heading towards Harare Tuesday amid a spike tensions as the stand-off between President Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander continues.

Eyewitnesses said military vehicles were also blocking major roads outside the city. 

There were also claims that heavily armed military personnel had sealed off state TV broadcaster ZBC. However, the public broadcaster's facilities around the country have always been guarded by the security services.

The development comes amid rising tensions between the military and a faction in the ruling Zanu-PF party which appears to have the support of President Mugabe and his influential wife, Grace.

Mugabe plunged the country into political crisis by sacking his vice president Emerson Mnangagwa last week. The long-serving veteran of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation war, had been viewed as a likely successor to Mugabe before the president fired him.

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

A number of people posted images of the military vehicles on social media. Some called it "a coup". The Independent was unable to verify where the military vehicles were travelling to and for what purpose.  

But earlier this week, Zimbabwe’s top general warned that the military would not hesitate to step in to end purges against former liberation war fighters including Mnangagwa, who is known as the "crocodile" because of his perceived shrewdness.

“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,” said General Constantino Chiwenga in a statement.  

“The current purging ... targeting members of the party with a liberation background must stop forthwith”.  

Chiwenga, a political ally of Mnangagwa, added that the Zanu-PF had been hijacked by people who did not fight in the 1970s liberation war, which some commentators read as a criticism of Ms Mugabe, a vocal critic of the former vice president.

In response the party's Youth League accused the military chief of subverting the constitution.

"We will not fold out hands to allow a creature of the constitution to subvert the very constitution which establishes it," said Kudzai Chipanga. 



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"Defending the revolution and our leader and president is an ideal we live for and if need be it is a principle we are prepared to die for," he added.


 
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