By News24 | 2017-11-15
Harare – Zimbabwe is reportedly "on the edge" after the country's army chief demanded a "stop" to the purge in President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF following the sacking of vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
General Constantino Chiwenga told a media conference attended by at least 90 senior army officers at the army headquarters in Harare on Monday that: "The current purging which is clearly targeting members of the party with a liberation background must stop forthwith." According to New Zimbabwe.com, Chiwenga recently returned from a trip in China to find Mnangagwa fired from government and expelled from Zanu-PF. The report said that the army had been seen to be backing Mnangagwa to succeed Mugabe, 93, but the nonagenarian's wife Grace had emerged as a top contender. Mnangagwa was kicked out of both government and the ruling party last week following accusations that he was plotting to topple Mugabe from power. Chiwenga accused the party of expelling senior officials who participated in the 1970s war against white-minority ruled Rhodesia, saying "counter revolutionaries" were plotting to destroy the party.
Armoured troop carriers seen 'heading towards Harare'
HARARE - armoured troop were seen heading towards the Zimbabwe capital Harare yesterday, witnesses said, a day after the head of the armed forces said he was prepared to "step in" to end a purge of supporters of ousted vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
A Reuters witness saw two other military vehicles parked beside the main road from Harare to Chinhoyi, about 20 km (14 miles) from the city. One, which was pointed in the direction of the capital, had come off its tracks. Soldiers at the scene refused to talk to Reuters.
Earlier on Tuesday the youth wing of Zimbabwe's ruling party accused the military chief of subverting the constitution for threatening to intervene after President Robert Mugabe plunged the country into crisis by sacking Emmerson Mnangagwa last week.
The reason for the military presence was not immediately clear, but the vehicles may have been on routine manoeuvres. The military spokesman was not available to comment.
Mnangagwa, 75, a long-serving veteran of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation wars, had been viewed as a likely successor to Mugabe before the president fired him on November 6.
His downfall appeared to pave the way for Mugabe's wife Grace to succeed the 93-year-old president, the only leader Zimbabwe has known in 37 years of independence.
In an unprecedented step, the head of the armed forces, Constantino Chiwenga, openly threatened to intervene in politics on Monday if the purge of war veterans did not stop.
"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.
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