Zimbabwe Army Takes Control Of Harare But Denies Coup Against President Robert Mugabe.

Announcement by military on state broadcaster says President Robert Mugabe and family are safe but army is ‘targeting criminals around him’. The defense forces are on the mission "to pacify a degenerating political social and economic situation in our country." Harare, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe army spokesman Maj Gen SB Moyo has addressed the nation after taking control of the state broadcaster. Moyo said President Mugabe was 'safe and sound' and the army was only targeting 'criminals' around him. He insisted this was not a military takeover of the country but a move to avoid violent conflict Military urges calm in Zimbabwe after it seizes key sites in capital.

In shocking developments the army moved into the Zimbabwean capital Harare and assumed apparently assumed power for itself. The military claimed that President Mugabe and his family were safe and the action of the army was aimed at ‘targeting criminals around him.’

Robert Mugabe addressing party members earlier this month in support of Grace Mugabe becoming the party’s next vice-president. Photograph: Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty Images

There were reports of explosions and the army having taken over the state broadcaster in Harare. Pointing at the seriousness of the situation was a detailed statement issued by the army in which it claimed that ‘the situation has moved to another level.’

News trickling in from Harare suggests that there has so far been no statement or appearance by President Mugabe, since reports of the purported coup came in. A statement read out by military spokesman Major General SB Moyo ominously warned that ‘any provocation will be met with an appropriate response.” The broadcast also announced a cancellation of all military leave and all members of the defense forces were ordered into the barracks.

There was an assurance held out to the country’s judiciary that they would soon be enabled to ‘exercise your independent authority without fear of being obstructed.’ Importantly there was a message for members of parliament alluding to the importance of their role in the nation and holding out an assurance that it is the army’s “desire that a dispensation is created that allows you to serve your respective political constituencies according to democratic tenets.”

The general people of the nation were exhorted to ‘remain calm and limit unnecessary movement.’ They were further encouraged to go about their daily essential business as usual. There is also a promise held out that it is the army’s desire that they will enjoy their rights and freedoms. The statement also alluded to the fact the army wished for the nation to return to a state of prosperity-something for which many citizens had paid for with their lives in the past.

There is an appeal to the political parties to not entice people to violence and to the youth to maintain disciplined. The church has been called upon to do its part and pray for the country as well as the maintenance of peace and honor. The statement is categorical in its assertion to its people that the army has not effected a military takeover, but only endeavoured to put a stop to the degeneration of the nation.

This military statement was issued via the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation in the early hours Wednesday. The present crisis has its genesis in the sacking of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa by President Mugabe who accused the former of plotting to depose him. This was seen as the President practicing a fait accompli to pave the way for the President’s wife Grace Mugabe to eventually succeed him as President.

The military though maintains that they have not taken over, but once the situation stabilized, ‘the situation would return to normalcy.’ Though the army stated that the safety of Mugabe and his family was ‘guaranteed’ what ‘normalcy’ entailed was open to conjecture.

The U.S. and U.K. embassies in the meantime have advised their citizens in the country to stay indoors, as a measure of precaution, given the present state of affairs in Zimbabwe.

SOURCE : The Guardian