World

Zimbabwe's army chief accused of 'treasonable conduct'

Zimbabwe's army chief accused of 'treasonable conduct'

This comes a day after a statement by army generals urged President Robert Mugabe to cease purges within his ruling party or "the military would be forced to intervene".

This photo taken November 8, 2017, shows Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, left, addressing party members and supporters to show support to Grace Mugabe, right, becoming the party's next vice president after the dismissal of Emerson Mnangagwa.

ZANU-PF said Chiwenga's stance was "clearly calculated to disturb national peace. and suggests treasonable conduct on his part as this was meant to incite insurrection".

Mnangagwa had always been tipped as Mugabe's most likely successor but has in recent months increasingly come into conflict with first lady Grace Mugabe, who is vying to replace the 93-year-old president.

The reason for the military convoys was not immediately clear, but the vehicles may have been on routine manoeuvres. The army's spokesman was not available to comment.

A number of people posted images of the military vehicles on social media.

Mugabe is the world's oldest head of state, but his frail health has fuelled a bitter succession battle as potential replacements jockey for position.

Mugabe is yet to respond to Chiwenga's coup threats.

A Reuters witness saw two other tanks parked beside the main road from Harare to Chinhoyi, about 20 km from the city.

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"No one wants to see a coup".

ZANU-PF's influential youth league, which supports Grace Mugabe as the next president, said in a statement that army chief Chiwenga must not be allowed to choose Zimbabwe's leaders.

The crisis marks an "ominous moment in the ongoing race to succeed" Mugabe, said political analyst Alex Magaisa in an online article.

The Zanu-PF party is "not personal property for you and your wife to do as you please", he said, according to The Guardian newspaper.

"His authority over the military has never been tested in this way".

"As a result of the squabbling, there has been no meaningful development in the country for the past five years".

Mnangagwa was subsequently fired from the party and has since left the country.

President Robert Mugabe with his wife Grace Mugabe.

Chris Mutsvangwa, the head of the war veterans' group, told reporters in Johannesburg last week that Grace Mugabe was "a mad woman" who had won power through a "coup.by marriage certificate".


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