AFRICA/ZIMBABWE - "The population is at work and the spirit is high" in Harare, where the military has taken control

Wednesday, 15 November 2017 military   politics   international politics   human rights   mass media  

Harare (Agenzia Fides) - "The military has taken control of the key points of the capital: the presidential palace, parliament, airport, bus station, and the radio and television headquarters", says the Commission of Social Communications of the Archdiocese of Harare, capital of Zimbabwe, where in the night of November 15, the military announced that they would "secure" President Robert Mugabe. "Mugabe and his family are safe 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", said a military spokesman.
"The situation is relatively tense, but there are no clashes. Soldiers have sealed access to parliament, government offices and courts in the capital. Most of the population went to work", say Fides sources. "The official media do not give any news. The radio only broadcasts patriotic songs".
"In any case, the spirit among the population is high, as can be seen by messages exchanged through social media and talking with people in the street. Mugabe and his wife were dividing the Country even more, and did not care to solve the nation's evils, in particular the disastrous economic situation. Uncertainty remains if we are governed by the military or the civilians".
"For the time being, however, the military are friendly towards the population and there have been no episodes in which soldiers have pointed their weapons against civilians. The borders are open even though they are under the control of the army", conclude our sources.
Tension in Zimbabwe was sparked off by the power struggle within ZANU-PF, the party of President Mugabe, which has governed since the country gained independence in 1980.
The level of confrontation had risen when in October the announcement that Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa had been poisoned. Mnangagwa, who fell ill in August, had been hospitalized in South Africa, where doctors said he had been the victim of intentional poisoning and not of food poisoning.
Mnangagwa is the main candidate for the succession of President Robert Mugabe, who is 93 years old. His rival is First Lady, Grace Mugabe. Last week Mugabe had removed Mnangagwa from office, stirring up the protests of the old military guard who had fought for national independence. The Chief of Defense Staff, Constantino Chiwenga, had threatened the military intervention in case the ongoing purge within ZANU-PF continued. Chiwenga went to China last week. The authorities in Beijing stated that it was only "a normal military exchange between the two Countries", suggesting that Chiwenga did not update the Chinese leadership of the preparation of a military coup. The President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, has spoken against a "change of unconstitutional regime" in Zimbabwe. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 15/11/2017)