Zimbabwe army denies coup against Mugabe as it takes control of Harare

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The military in Zimbabwe appears to have taken control of the country’s airwaves amid high tension in the capital and reports of explosions and gunfire.

After securing control of the state broadcaster, a military spokesman, Major General SB Moyomade a televised announcement early on Wednesday saying President Robert Mugabe and his family were “safe and sound and their security is guaranteed”.

He said the army was targeting “criminals around” Mugabe, who were “committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in order to bring them to justice”.

Insisting this was not a military takeover, 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 said.

Moyo said the army had acted because the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation had been ordered not to broadcast a statement from the military on Monday  and “the situation in our country has moved to another level”.

Cancelling all leave for members of the military, he urged the security forces to “cooperate for the good of our country”. He warned “any provocation will be met with an appropriate response”.

Following the speech, Zimbabwe’s military detained finance minister Ignatius Chombo. Chombo was a leading member of the so-called ‘G40’ faction of the ruling Zanu-PF party, led by Mugabe’s wife Grace, that had been vying to succeed the 93-year-old president.

The military statement followed hours of chaos in Harare, with witnesses reporting a number of loud explosions and armed forces assaulting passers-by.

Images from central Harare as morning breaks show tanks and troops on the streets around government buildings and the presidential residence.

Armed soldiers stand on the road leading to President Robert Mugabe’s office in Harare.
 Photograph: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP
A military tank is seen with armed soldiers on the road leading to President Robert Mugabe’s office in Harare, Zimbabwe Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. Overnight, at least three explosions were heard in the capital, Harare, and military vehicles were seen in the streets. On Monday, the army commander had threatened to “step in” to calm political tensions over the 93-year-old Mugabe’s possible successor. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
 Photograph: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP
 
-The Guardian

ABOUT: Nana Kwesi Coomson

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A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morgan

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