Military outside Harare after army chief's threat

Jerome Frank
November 15, 2017

Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party on Tuesday condemned the "treasonous" statement by Zimbabwe Defense Forces Chief Constantino Chiwenga, who threatened military intervention in the party's factional fights.

There has been a crackdown on freedom of expression in the southern African nation in recent months, with a United States of America woman arrested for allegedly calling President Robert Mugabe "a goblin" in a tweet.

"The current purging, which is clearly targeting members of the party with a liberation background, must stop", said Chiwenga, flanked by senior army personnel.

This comes a day after Gen. Constantino Chiwenga, commander of Zimbabwe Defence Forces, said he was prepared to "step in" to end a purge of supporters of ousted vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The development comes amid rising tensions between the military and a faction in the ruling Zanu-PF party which appears to have the support of President Mugabe and his influential wife, Grace.

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The veteran of the country's 1970s liberation war was popular with the military and had been seen as a likely successor to Mugabe.

Historically President Mugabe is generally afraid, and interprets any show of defiance as risk of a possible coup and has in the past tightened his personal security over simple things like social media dissent, or strikes by workers.

Political analysts however say the military stayed quiet then because the beneficiary of Mujuru's downfall was the 75-year-old Mnangagwa, a war veteran.

Four people have been arrested for booing first lady Grace Mugabe at a rally.

"What we are witnessing is the military saying: "We are willing to intervene if the red line is crossed".

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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