Zimbabwe Defence Forces say that President Robert Mugabe and Wife Grace are “safe and sound.”
The first family were reportedly detained on Tuesday night in what increasingly looks look an attempt to topple the long serving leader.
In an announcement made by Maj Gen S.B Moyo, the army claims that the security of the first family is guaranteed.
“Firstly, we wish to assure the nation the His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Commander-In-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, comrade R.G Mugabe, and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed,” he said.
He however distanced the forces from the suggestion that the process is an intended coup.
“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,” Moyo said.
He said the forces are only pacifying a degenerating political, social and economic situation in the country which if not addressed may result into conflict.
However, according to media reports, Chris Mutsvangwa, the head of Zimbabwe’s influential war veterans’ association says that the president has been removed with plans to install exiled former Vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Zimbabwe’s ruling party also claimed on social media that President Robert Mugabe and his family were detained Tuesday night at the height of Military take over.
“Last night the first family was detained and are safe, both for the constitution and the sanity of the nation this was necessary,” said the Wednesday morning Tweet, sent from the @zanu_pf handle. “Neither Zimbabwe nor ZANU are owned by Mugabe and his wife. Today begins a fresh new era and comrade Mnangagwa will help us achieve a better Zimbabwe.”
We however, can not independently verify the twitter account’s authenticity.
Southern Africa Director with the Africa Division at Human Rights Watch, Dewa Mavhinga reports that the military has since sealed off the parliament building in Harare, cordoned off the Police Support Unit with no one allowed to enter of leave the police base and streets to President Mugabe’s offices.
He also states that military has disarmed guard members of the police.
It should be noted that Maj Gen Moyo warned against any sinister moves by any party, stating that the army shall not hesitate to reply in equal measure.
The current tension was sparked last week when Mugabe fired his deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and accused him of disloyalty and plotting to seize power. Many observers saw the move as a step toward the installation of Mugabe’s wife, Grace Mugabe, as vice president. That would put the first lady in position to become president when her 93-year-old husband retires or dies.