While You Were Sleeping, Zimbabwe's Military Appears To Have Taken Over The Country

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Posted: Nov 15, 2017 7:45 AM
While You Were Sleeping, Zimbabwe's Military Appears To Have Taken Over The Country

Well, across the Atlantic, the African nation of Zimbabwe seems to have gone through a coup executed by the military. Reports trickled in last night about military movements, the British Embassy ordered its citizens in the country to remain indoors due to the activity. The military then took over the state-owned ZBC Broadcasting Corporation to deliver a message on their activities. They said the nation had “moved to another level.” The military is said to be rounding up the “criminals” within the government that they think are corrupting the nation as well. President Robert Mugabe is said to be in state custody as well (via NYT):

Zimbabwe’s military said early Wednesday that it had taken custody of President Robert Mugabe, the world’s oldest head of state and one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, in what increasingly appeared to be a military takeover in the southern African nation.

After apparently seizing the state broadcaster, ZBC, two uniformed officers said in a short predawn announcement that “the situation in our country has moved to another level.” While denying that the military had seized power, they said that Mr. 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,” said the main speaker, who was identified as Maj. Gen. S. B. Moyo, the army’s chief of staff.

General Moyo — who was not widely known to the public but who was considered close to the commander of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces, Gen. Constantine Chiwenga — warned that “any provocation will be met with an appropriate response.”

[…]

The television announcement came after a long night of rumors and sketchy reports in Harare that a coup might be underway. The day before, in a remarkable act of defiance, General Chiwenga had warned that “when it comes to matters of protecting our revolution, the military will not hesitate to step in.”

General Chiwenga was considered close to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom Mr. Mugabe summarily expelled from the government and the governing ZANU-PF party last week. The move was widely seen as clearing the path for Mr. Mugabe’s wife, Grace, 52, who had been amassing growing political power in the past two years as her aging husband’s health declined visibly.

Since his removal, the whereabouts of Mr. Mnangagwa, who like Mr. Mugabe was a veteran of the country’s struggle for independence, has been shrouded in mystery.

The question of who will succeed Mr. Mugabe has long haunted Zimbabwe and its political class and led to conflicts among its members even as the country’s once-promising economy shriveled.

Here’s the statement from the military that was released by ZBC:

Fellow Zimbabweans, following the address we made on 13 November 2017 which we believe our main broadcaster, ZBC and The Herald were directed not to publicise, the situation in our country has moved to another level.

Firstly, we wish to assure the nation that His Excellency, The President, of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Head of State and Government and Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Cde R.G 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 individuals to influence the current purging taking place in Zanu PF to the Civil service. We are against that act of injustice and we intend to protect everyone of you against it.

To the judiciary, the measures underway are intended to ensure that, as an independent arm of the state, you are able to exercise your independent authority without fear of being obstructed as has been the case with this group of individuals.

To our Members of Parliament: Your legislative role is of paramount importance for peace and stability in this country and it is our desire that a dispensation is created that allows you to serve your respective political constituencies according to democratic tenets.

To the generality of the people of Zimbabwe: We urge you to remain calm and limit unnecessary movement. However, we encourage those who are employed and those with essential business in the city to continue their normal activities as usual. Our wish is that you enjoy your rights and freedoms and that we return our country to a dispensation that allows for investment, development and prosperity that we all fought for and for which many of our citizens paid the supreme sacrifice.

To political Parties; We urge you to discourage your members from engaging in violent behaviour.

To the youth: We call upon you to realise that the future of this country is yours. Do not be enticed with dirty coins of silver, be disciplined and remain committed to the ethos and values of this great nation.

To all Churches and religious organisations in Zimbabwe: We call upon you and your congregations to pray for our country and preach the gospel of love, peace, unity and development.

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. 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.

We call upon all the war veterans to play a positive role in ensuring peace, stability and unity in the country.

To members of the Defence Forces: All leave is cancelled and you are all to return to your barracks with immediate effect.

To our respected Traditional leaders: You are the custodians of our culture, customs, traditions and heritage and we request you to provide leadership and direction to your communities for the sake of unity and development in our country.

To the other Security Services: We urge you to cooperate for the good of our country. Let it be clear that we intend to address the human security threats in our country. Therefore any provocation will be met with an appropriate response.

To the media; we urge you report fairly and responsibly.

Some people will argue whether this is actually a coup since the military has not suspended the constitution. Mr. Mugabe is said to be negotiating his exit from power, according to South African-based News 24.  This is a developing story.  One of the government officials who was arrested by the military was the country's finance minister, Ignatius Chombo. This is a developing story. We’ll keep you updated. 

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UPDATE: AP is reporting that all police officers that are on leave are to report back immediately.