Army tanks head to capital as tensions between Mugabe and military rise
Tanks have been spotted heading towards Zimbabwe’s capital Harare. Eyewitnesses said military vehicles were also blocking major roads outside the city.
Local media also reported that heavily armed military personnel had sealed off state TV broadcaster ZBC.
It comes amid rising tensions between the east African nation’s military and the country,s ruling Zanu-PF party.
The Zanu-PF party is headed by President Robert Mugabe – the only leader Zimbabwe has known in 37 years of independence.
The president plunged the country into political crisis by sacking his vice president Emerson Mnangagwa, 75, last week. The long-serving veteran of Zimbabwe’s 1970s liberation wars, had been viewed as a likely successor to Mr Mugabe.
However Mnangagwa’s downfall appeared to pave the way for Mr Mugabe’s wife Grace to succeed the 93-year-old president.
Several people posted images of the military vehicles on social media. Some called it “a coup”.
There is currently no local media confirmation of unable where the military vehicles were heading and for what purpose.
Nonetheless, Zimbabwe’s top general recently warned that the military would not hesitate to step in to end purges against former liberation war fighters including Mr Mnangagwa.
The ousted vice president 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”.
The commander of Zimbabwe Defence Forces and political ally of Mr Mnangagwa, added a statement indirectly aimed at Ms Mugabe.
He said the Zanu-PF had been hijacked by people who did not fight in the 1970s liberation war. Ms Mugabe has been a vocal critic of the former vice president.