Saturday, 25 November, 2017

Robert Mugabe under SEIGE: Gunfire breaks out near President's Zimbabwe mansion

Robert Mugabe under SEIGE: Gunfire breaks out near President's Zimbabwe mansion Robert Mugabe under SEIGE: Gunfire breaks out near President's Zimbabwe mansion
Melinda Barton | 15 November, 2017, 11:45

Gen Chiwenga said the army was prepared to act to end purges within Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. At least three explosions were heard near the University of Zimbabwe.

"What the Zimbabwe Defence Forces is doing is to pacify a degenerating political‚ social and economic situation in our country which if not addressed may result in violent conflict". A Harare resident told AFP that gunfire erupted near President Robert Mugabe's private residence in Borrowdale in Harare in the early hours of Wednesday.

Zimbabwe's ambassador in South Africa, Isaac Moyo, dismissed any talk of a coup and said the government was "intact".

The US State Department said it was "closely monitoring" the situation in Zimbabwe and urged all parties to resolve disputes "calmly and peacefully".

He assured the nation that President Mugabe and his family were safe, and insisted his security was guaranteed.

The country is now under military rule, Alex Magaisa, a Zimbabwean law lecturer who is based in the United Kingdom and helped design Zimbabwe's 2013 constitution, told News24.

Two hours later, soldiers overran the headquarters of the ZBC, Zimbabwe's state broadcaster and a principal Mugabe mouthpiece, and ordered staff to leave.

Grace Mugabe has drawn the ire of Zimbabweans for appearing to be out of touch.

Tuesday's ZANU-PF statement, signed by party information secretary Simon Khaya Moyo, said Chiwenga's comments were "clearly calculated to disturb national peace and stability" and meant to "incite insurrection and violent challenge to the Constitutional Order". She was expected to be Zimbabwe's next leader after the President fired his deputy and former security chief Emmerson Mnangagwa a few months ago, apparently to make way for her ascension.

Tanks were seen roaming moving through the streets as troops entered buildings in the capital Harare.

Mnangagwa, who enjoys the military's backing, fled the country after claiming he'd been threatened. But a military spokesperson has denied this is a coup.

Both the U.S. and British embassies in Zimbabwe have advised their nationals to stay indoors because of what they call the 'uncertain situation'.

Mugabe abolished the Office of Prime Minister to appoint himself President of Zimbabwe in 1987.

The US embassy has warned its nationals to "shelter" amid uncertainty and wait for further notice, according to its website. Apparently referring to Mugabe, the tweet said "an elderly man who had been taken advantage of by his wife [was] detained".

Notably though, the lead item on the ZBC state broadcaster's evening news bulletin was an anti-military rally by the youth wing of Mr Mugabe's ZANU-PF party - however the channel then missed its usual 11:00pm (local time) bulletin, without providing an explanation.