Friday, 17 November, 2017

Zimbabwe military deny coup in state TV address

Syria army renews assault on last IS-held town monitor Syria army renews assault on last IS-held town monitor
Kenny Thornton | 15 November, 2017, 11:43

Political turmoil escalated in Zimbabwe overnight, raising the question of whether 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe remains in control of the country he's ruled for nearly four decades - or if he's been overthrown in a military coup. Mnangagwa fled to South Africa but is rumoured to have returned to Zimbabwe on Wednesday to take control of government.

Soldiers are reported to have taken over the headquarters of Zimbabwe's national broadcaster ZBC, amid a growing political crisis. He said: "We wish to assure the nation that his Excellency, the president... and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed".

According to the army general, they expect that the situation will return to normalcy "as soon as we have accomplished our mission".

But the Zanu-PF party said Chiwenga's comments were meant to "incite insurrection" and that it "reaffirms the primacy of politics over the gun" and accused him of "treasonable conduct". Tanks were seen advancing towards Harare late yesterday afternoon.

"Defending the revolution and our leader and president is an ideal we live for and if need be it is a principle we are prepared to die for", Youth League leader Kudzai Chipanga said at the party's headquarters in Harare.

The added presence of troops as night fell and civilians went home - including the movement of at least six armoured personnel carriers from a barracks north-west of Harare - further sparked rumours of a coup against Mr Mugabe, although there was still no evidence Mr Mugabe had been ousted.

But the generals' actions posed as a major challenge to the ageing Mugabe, 93, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980.

Kyrgyzstan refuses $100 million Kazakhstan aid amid growing tensions
Kyrgyzstan refuses $100 million Kazakhstan aid amid growing tensions

Mutsvangwa and the war veterans are staunch allies of Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was sacked from his post of vice president by Mugabe last week.

Decades of control over the African country has, unsurprisingly, seen Mugabe accumulate some significant wealth, much like other dictators Muammar Gaddafi, Bashar al-Assad, and Hosni Mubarak.

Robert Mugabe has accumulated a net worth of $10 million (£7.5 million) thanks largely to the fortunes reaped from Zimbabwe's diamond deposits. Four years later, Mugabe and Grace were married.

But a recent post from the ruling party's own Twitter account suggests the first family has been detained.

Due to ongoing uncertainty in Zimbabwe, the U.S. Embassy in Harare will be minimally staffed and closed to the public on November 15.

Grace Mugabe's rise has brought her into conflict with the independence-era war veterans, who enjoyed privileged status in Zimbabwe until the last two years when they spearheaded criticism of Mugabe's handling of the economy.

In an address to the nation, an army spokesman said the military is targeting "criminals" around Mugabe, and sought to reassure the country that order will be restored.

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