We are updating this post as news comes in.
Update 10:20 PM EST:
Soldiers from the Zimbabwean armed forces have been deployed across Harare and taken over the national broadcaster. In a contradictory announcement, the army claims that this is not a military takeover and that Mugabe and his family is safe. None of this has been verified as of this time.
Here are the army representatives on ZBC:
The troop deployment comes after the Zanu-PF accused General Constantino Chiwenga of "treasonable conduct" earlier today. There have also been reports of heavy artillery fire in Harare's northern suburbs and at least one news agency is reporting gunfire close to Mugabe's private residence.
Update 9:25 PM EST: According to Pindula News Zimbabwean Defense Forces Commander General Constantino Chiwenga just appeared on ZBC, the national broadcaster. As reported by Pindula:
In his address ZDF Commander General Constantino Chiwenga says that it is not a military takeover. He urges soldiers on leave to report to their barracks with immediate effect. Chiwenga also said that President Robert Mugabe and his family's safety is assured but they are targeting "criminals around him". He urged Zimbabweans to remain calm and warned that any form of violence will be dealt with accordingly.
Update 9:17 PM EST: Reuters and the BBC are reporting that Zimbabwean soldiers have been deployed across Harare and taken over the national broadcaster in what is looking more and more like a full-blown coup. This comes after the Zanu-PF accused General Constantino Chiwenga of "treasonable conduct" earlier today. There are also reports of heavy artillery fire in Harare's northern suburbs and at least one news agency is reporting gunfire close to Mugabe's private residence.
According to ZBC staff reached by Reuters, the were manhandled when soldiers occupied the premises early in the early morning hours. The US Embassy in Zimbabwe has also announced that they will be closed to the public Nover 15, due to "ongoing uncertainty."
Zimbabwean social media was ablaze this morning with images of tanks and other military vehicles headed in the direction of Harare. This comes a day after the head of the army, General Constantino Chiwenga, announced he would step in to end a purge of supporters of former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
"The current purging which is clearly targeting members of the party with a liberation background must stop forthwith," Chiwenga announced at army HQ yesterday. As reported in News24 he went on to release a statement saying "We must remind those behind the current treacherous shenanigans that when it comes to matters of protecting our revolution, the military will not hesitate to step in."
VP Mnangagwa was ousted last week in a move widely believed meant to help Grace Mugabe's chances of succeeding her nonagerian husband, President Robert Mugabe. After his sacking, Mnangagwa left for South Africa citing threats on his life. He released a statement to the press saying that he would return to lead the party:
This is now a party controlled by undisciplined, egotistical and self-serving minnows who derive their power not from the people and party but from only two individuals in the form of the First Family who have now privatized and commercialized our beloved institution.
Like any event in progress, what's being shared is likely full of inaccuracies and even intentional misdirection but it's quite clear that troop movements are indeed happening. Stay tuned for updates.
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