Coup rumours sweep Zimbabwe

Outgoing Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Unusual troop movements, the cordoning off of the premises housing the state broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, as well as major arteries into the capital Harare have fueled rumours that there may be a coup d’état unfolding in neighbouring Zimbabwe. The Cape Messenger is following respected author Peter Godwin’s posts on Facebook.

The troop movements of the Zimbabwe defence forces have been reported by a publication called Khuluma Africa, posted by Godwin.

On Tuesday afternoon, Godwin posted that there were reports that the army had cordoned off the ZBC and major arteries. Videos also began circulating on the social media, the media organisation said, of army tankers along the Harare-Chinhoyi road, travelling from Inkom Barracks, and destined for the capital.

It also reported that soldiers and army personnel were “also seen travelling along other roads while seemingly setting-up check points”.

For a spell on Tuesday, the Chinhoyi-Harare road was closed off completely. It was not clear on Tuesday evening whether the road had been reopened.

Khuluma Africa said it had also received information that the KG6, the military headquarters, had been sealed off. People were not able to enter or leave.

Earlier the publication reported that the commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, General Constantino Dominic Guyveya Chiwenga, had warned politicians in the ruling Zanu-PF to stop purging heroes of the second Chimurenga liberation war. The general was reported as saying that should the party not heed the warning the country’s military may be forced (to act).

Radio reports indicated that the Zanu PF youth wing had objected to the intrusion into constitutional politics by Chiwenga. The defence chief had apparently objected to the ousting of the Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The Vice-President – who was long seen as a possible heir to the Mugabe thrown – was ousted last week after a clash with the First Lady Grace Mugabe.

A document carried on its website indicates that “the current purging (of Zanu-PF) is clearly targeting members of the party with a liberation background (and) must stop forthwith”.

While it is not clear, the document – emanating from the military – also says it took exception to attempts “by some politicians to drive a wedge between the security services for their own selfish interests.”  It goes on that the only commander of the defence force was the Commander in Chief, His Excellency the President, head of State and Government and Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Force, Cde RG Mugabe.

This would indicate that if there is any coup, it is likely to be an internal coup d’état upholding the rule of Mugabe.

Another website, zimbabwesituation.com, reported “military movements in Harare city”. It said armed soldiers “can be seen moving in to Harare. A tank appeared to be blocking the road outside the capital.”

Zanu-PF, the ruling party, tweeted that there was “no coup” taking place in Zimbabwe.

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