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World News

15 Nov 2017

Zimbabwe army denies military takeover in live address on state TV

Zimbabwe army denies military takeover in live address on state TV
CNN:

Zimbabwe is on edge amid reports that soldiers have been deployed to the streets of the capital Harare in what could be the most serious challenge yet to President Robert Mugabe's decades-long grip on power.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, a military spokesman interrupted taped programming on state television to deny reports of a coup.
"To both our people and the world beyond our borders, we wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not a military takeover of government," Maj. Gen. S.B. Moyo said on broadcaster ZBC.
"What the Zimbabwe Defense Forces is doing is to pacify a degenerating political, social and economic situation in our country, which if not addressed may result in a violent conflict," he said. He urged the public to remain calm but "limit unnecessary movement."
In the hours before the announcement, eyewitnesses reported seeing around 100 troops on the streets of downtown Harare. The sudden appearance of soldiers in the capital comes amid rising political tensions in the wake of Mugabe's shock sacking of his deputy, powerful Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa had previously been considered most likely to succeed Mugabe if the president stepped down or died in office. His sudden dismissal cleared the way for 93-year-old Mugabe to appoint his wife, Grace, to the position, prompting widespread discontent among formerly loyalist supporters.
Former deputy Mnangagwa enjoys strong support among the country's military and security establishment. A celebrated freedom fighter in the country's liberation wars, the 75-year-old has since gone into hiding and his whereabouts are unknown.
In the broadcast, Moyo said the situation in the country "has moved to another level" and that he wished to assure the nation Mugabe and his family are safe and their security is "guaranteed."
He spoke of targeting "criminals" around the president 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 accomplish our mission we expect situation to return to normalcy," Moyo said.
A former political aide to ex-Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangari called the military's actions "unprecedented."
"You call a frog by any other name, but it will still be a frog. This a coup by any other name," Alex Magaisa, who now lectures at Kent University in the United Kingdom, told CNN.
"They are being very careful in their words," Magaisa said of the military. "They might be trying to give a fig leaf to the notion that President Mugabe is still the leader. But de facto they are obviously the military force."

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