The military in Zimbabwe has taken control of the country’s state broadcaster in the capital, Harare. The military seized the state TV and also blocked off access to government offices, but denied it was taking over government.
Military spokesperson, Major General S.B. Moyo made a televised statement early today saying President Robert Mugabe and his family were “safe and sound and their security is guaranteed”.
He added that the army is targeting “criminals around” President Mugabe, who are “committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in order to bring them to justice”.
Maj Gen Moyo said “as soon as they are done the situation will come to normalcy”.
“We urge you to remain calm and limit unnecessary movement. However, we encourage those who are employed and those with essential business in the city to continue their normal activities as usual,” he noted.
Maj Gen Moyo’s announcement follows General Constantino Chiwenga, Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), press statement this week on the political situation in the country. Gen Chiwenga issued a warning that the military would “step in” if those responsible for “purging” in the ruling Zanu-PF party do not stop. Gen Chiwenga said the military will not hesitate to take corrective measures when they felt the gains of the liberation struggle were under threat.
A file photo taken on May 2, 2008 shows Emmerson Mnangagwa, Robert Mugabe’s then ZANU-PF election agent addressing a press conference in Harare. Photo: ANP/AFP Alexander Joe
Zanu PF however yesterday described as “treasonous” the statements by ZDF Commander Gen Chiwenga. The party’s national spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo, said Gen Chiwenga’s statements were meant to incite insurrection and violent challenge to the constitutional order.
Due to ongoing uncertainty in Zimbabwe, the U.S. Embassy in Harare will be minimally staffed and closed to the public on November 15. Embassy personnel will continue to monitor the situation closely. @StateDept
— U.S. Embassy Harare (@usembassyharare) November 15, 2017
“Clearly calculated to disturb national peace and stability, the said statement by General Constantino Chiwenga which was not signed, and which did not represent the rest of the command element, suggests treasonable conduct on his part as this was meant to incite insurrection and violent challenge to the constitutional order,” Khaya Moyo said.
The situation is tense in the capital as the political future is uncertain. The US embassy in Harare has issued a warning saying it will be closed today and continues to closely monitor the situation. The EU delegation is also closed today.