Army tanks have been seen rolling towards Zimbabwe’s capital Harare, leading to speculation this could be beginning of the end of president Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule.
Four tanks were spotted making their way to the capital while two more were seen parked about 20 kilometers from Harare, Reuters reported on Nov. 14. On social media users posted photos of the tanks and other army vehicles on the country’s roads. The images could not be independently verified.
Just a day earlier, the head of Zimbabwe’s armed forces threatened to step in to stop the purging leaders who’d fought in Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.
“Targeting people with a liberation background must stop forthwith‚” General Constantine Chiwenga said at a press briefing on Nov. 13. The Zimbabwean state media tried to enforce a blackout on the general’s comments, with the state-run Herald newspaper reportedly removing the story.
“We must remind those behind the current treacherous shenanigans that when it comes to matters of protecting our revolution‚ the military will not hesitate to step in,” he said.
Last week, Mugabe fired his deputy president Emmerson Mnangagwa, the man long presumed to take over. The move was seen by many as opening the path for first lady Grace Mugabe to take over from her husband, who has been in power since 1980.
“You (Mugabe) and your cohorts will instead leave Zanu PF by the will of the people and this we will do in the coming weeks as Zimbabweans in general now require new progressive leadership that is not resident in the past and refuses to accept change,” Mnangagwa said in a statement from exile, presumably South Africa.
Zanu-PF’s official Twitter account tried to counter the speculation growing on social media.