Amid a growing political crisis and fears of a coup, Zimbabwe’s military has reportedly taken over the headquarters of the country's national broadcaster and mouthpiece of the 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe.
This comes just hours after armoured military vehicles and tanks were seen rolling down the streets of the capital. Several explosions were reported across central Harare in the early hours of Wednesday after troops were deployed on the streets.
Developments in the country’s capital have fuelled speculation that a coup was underway against Mugabe.The head of the armed forces threatened to "step in" after Mugabe sacked Emmerson Mnangagwa, the country’s vice-president and a dominant figure in the ruling Zanu-PF party.
Mnangagwa, the most likely candidate to succeed Mugabe if the president decided to step down or died in office, was accused of plotting to take power.
Mugabe has been President of Zimbabwe since 1987 and previously led the country as Prime Minister from 1980 to 1987. Mugabe's actions, including the rigging of elections, have led to a widespread view that he is, in effect, a dictator.
Army General Constantino Chiwenga had challenged Mugabe decision, saying his force was prepared to act to end purges within the President’s party.
Mugabe’s party accused the army chief of "treasonable conduct" after he warned of possible military intervention.
Mugabe's wife and first lady, Grace Mugabe, is set to replace Mnangagwa as the Vice President. The Army’s move is being seen as part of a battle between deposed vice-president Mnangagwa and the first lady over the presidential succession.
In an announcement on the state broadcaster, the military said President Mugabe and family are safe and denied it has carried out a coup.
"Comrade Mugabe and his family are safe and sound, and their security is guaranteed. We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country, to bring them to justice,” the statement issued by the military read.
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