BEVERLY HILLS, November 14, (THEWILL) – Zimbabwe’s military, early Wednesday, said it had taken custody of President Robert Mugabe in what appears to be a military takeover in the southern African nation.
After apparently seizing the state broadcaster, ZBC, two uniformed officers, in a short predawn announcement declared that “the situation in our country has moved to another level.”
The television announcement came after a long night of rumors and sketchy reports in Harare that a coup might be underway.
The officers added that Mugabe, the world’s oldest head of state and one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, and his family are safe and sound, and their security is guaranteed.
There was no further clarification of the whereabouts or status of Mr. Mugabe, 93, who is the only leader his nation has known since independence in 1980.
“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 is said to be working closely with the commander of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces, Gen. Constantine Chiwenga.
Chiwenga is considered close to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom Mugabe summarily expelled from the government and the governing ZANU-PF party last week.
The move was widely seen as clearing the path for 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 Mnangagwa, who like Mugabe was a veteran of the country’s struggle for independence, has been shrouded in mystery.
The country had been in a bit of chaos over a successor for Mugabe who apparently is backing his wife, Grace, to take over from him.