Sources in Harare report martial law has been declared in the capital of Zimbabwe, with troops guarding the presidential palace, parliament, and the state broadcaster ZBC. Armed soldiers have been deployed to the the airport, bus terminal, and at strategic points throughout the capital. Patriotic and martial music is being broadcast by the government, but no official announcement has been made as to what has happened and where President Robert Mugabe is, Anglican Ink has been told.
Troops left their barracks during the night of 15 Nov 2017in Harare, but AI has not been able to contact its sources in Bulawayo and Mutare to learn if the martial law is nationwide. Wire service agencies report the army has denied there has been a coup, with a spokesman saying President “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 tense, but there has been no violence and the markets and businesses remain open.
Martial law comes amidst a power struggle within the ruling ZANU-PF to succeed the 93=year old president who has ruled the country since 1980. Last week President Mugabe removed Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa from office, clearing the way for his wife, Grace Mugabe to take power. Vice President Mnangagwa has been recuperating in hospital in South Africa, where he was airlifted after he was poisoned. whad been poisoned. The former vice-president’s power base lies with the army, prompting speculation the declaration of martial law is in response to his ouster.
South African President Jacob Zuma has dispatched his defense minister and security officials to Harare to meet with Mugabe and the Zimbabwean armed forces, the Guardian reports, to see what has happened.
The majority of the country, however, appears to be taking a wait and see attitude. On Facebook, the Anglican Diocese of Harare this morning posted a note stating: “Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight. Psalm 119:143 NIV”, but offered no comment on the unfolding crisis.