Zimbabwe’s army on Wednesday reassured citizens that the country was not facing a “military takeover”, reported news agency Reuters. It added that President Robert Mugabe was “safe and sound” and that the situation would return to normalcy. The army’s statement comes a day after military vehicles were seen outside Harare, the country’s capital, triggering speculations of a coup.
The trucks were seen moving towards the capital a day after Army chief General Constantino Chiwenga said he was prepared to “step in” to resolve the turmoil in the country.
Ahead of Zimbabwe’s general election next year, Mugabe has been backing his wife, First Lady Grace Mugabe, as the country’s next president. He sacked Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is also eyeing the post, after accusing him of plotting to take over. In response, Chiwenga had warned Mugabe to “stop” purges of the ruling ZANU-PF party, and threatened to “step in”. Also read: Who is Robert Mugabe?
This is the full address made by Zimbabwe Major General SB Moyo, Chief of Staff Logistics, on national television:
We wish to assure the nation that His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, and commander in chief of Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Comrade RG Mugabe, and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed.
We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice.
As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy. To the civil servants, as you are aware, there is a plan by the same people to influence the current purging that is taking place in the political sphere to the civil service. We are against that act of injustice and we intend to protect every one of you against that.
To the judiciary, the measures underway are intended to assure that as an independent arm of the state you are able to exercise your independent authority without fear of being obstructed.
(With inputs from agencies)