Zimbabwe’s military seized power in the early hours of Wednesday, targeting “criminals” around President Robert Mugabe but gave assurances on national television that the 93-year-old leader and his family were “safe and sound”.
It is understood that Mugabe and his family remain in military detention in Zimbabwe, 12 hours after the military declared on national television that it had temporarily taken control of the country to “target criminals” around the head of state.
The move by the armed forces appears to have resolved a bitter battle to succeed the 93-year-old president, which had pitted his former vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, against his wife, 52-year-old Grace Mugabe.
Reuters reports that soldiers and armored vehicles blocked roads to the main government offices, parliament and the courts in central Harare, while taxis ferried commuters to work nearby.
“We are only targeting criminals around him (Mugabe) who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice,” Major General SB Moyo, Chief of Staff Logistics, said on television.
“As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.”
Reiterating the military’s stand, Zimbabwe’s ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front, on Wednesday also said President Mugabe and his family were safe after the military took custody of the world’s oldest head of state earlier in the day.
Zimbabwe has not had a coup. There has been a decision to intervene because our constitution had been undermined, in the interim Comrade E Mnagngawa will be president of ZANU PF as per the constitution of our revolutionary organisation.
— ZANU PF (@zanu_pf) 15 November 2017