Zimbabwe’s ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), has accused the country’s army chief, General Constantino Chiwenga, of “treasonable conduct” after he threatened to “step in” to resolve the crisis surrounding President Robert Mugabe’s sacking of his vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Tensions heightened on Tuesday when tanks and soldiers were seen heading towards Harare, the country’s capital, leading to speculation that a military coup was underway.
The 93-year-old president of Zimbabwe sacked his deputy one week ago over his alleged “traits of disloyalty.” Political analysts in the country, however, suspected that Mr. Mugabe purged his vice president in order to clear a path for his wife, Grace, to take over the role.
Mr. Mnangagwa, 75, is a veteran of Zimbabwe’s 1970s war of liberation and was anticipated by many to be Mr. Mugabe’s successor. He fled the southern African country after his sacking.
Responding to the development at a press conference on Monday, General Chiwenga said, “The current purging, which is clearly targeting members of the party with a liberation background, must stop forthwith.”
“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,” he warned.
The ruling ZANU-PF condemned these comments as an attempt to disrupt the peace in the country, saying that it would not yield to military pressure.