Harare: Zimbabwe is under the control of the military two days after its army chief warned President Robert Mugabe against purging the ruling party’s senior ranks.
Analysts say it appears to be the climax of a power struggle between liberation-era figures loyal to ousted vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa and forces faithful to First Lady Grace Mugabe, who is seen as vying to succeed her 93-year-old husband.
Here is what we know:
– Military in control –
Armoured personnel carriers and troops were deployed onto roads leading towards Harare on Tuesday, a day after army chief General Constantino Chiwenga warned the military may intervene after Mugabe fired Mnangagwa last week.
Mnangagwa was popular with security forces but had repeatedly clashed with Grace, 52, a political novice who is believed to have alarmed many senior army commanders with her open posturing and ambition.
It became clear after nightfall that the manoeuvres were not routine when the armoured vehicles took up positions outside key sites of power in the capital.
Shortly afterwards, a senior army officer, flanked by an air force commander, made a late night address on the ZBC state broadcaster after having apparently taken over the station’s output.
They denied staging a coup, saying they were targeting “criminals” close to the president. Initial reports suggest key Grace ally and leader of the ruling ZANU-PF party youth league Kudzai Chipanga is among those detained. – AFP