Zimbabwe defence chief General Constantine Chiwenga
(centre) in 2009 told military colleagues that he will have
difficulties saluting new Prime Minister Morgan

Tanks have been spotted heading towards Zimbabwe‘s
capital Harare. Eyewitnesses said military vehicles were also
blocking major roads outside the city.

Local media also reported that heavily armed military personnel
had sealed off state TV broadcaster ZBC.

It comes amid rising tensions between the southern African
nation’s military and the country’s ruling Zanu-PF party,
headed by President Robert
 – the only leader Zimbabwe has known in 37
years of independence.

The president plunged the country into political crisis by
sacking his vice president Emerson Mnangagwa, 75, last week.
The long-serving veteran of Zimbabwe’s 1970s liberation wars,
had been viewed as a likely successor to Mr Mugabe before the
president fired him.

But his downfall appeared to pave the way for his wife Grace to
succeed her 93-year-old husband.

A number of people posted images of the military vehicles on
social media. Some called it “a coup”. The
was unable to verify where the military
vehicles were travelling to and for what purpose.

But earlier this week, Zimbabwe’s top general warned that the
military would not hesitate to step in to end purges against
former liberation war fighters including Mr Mnangagwa, who is
known as the “crocodile” because of his perceived shrewdness.

“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,” said
General Constantino Chiwenga in a statement.

“The current purging … targeting members of the party with a
liberation background must stop forthwith”.

The commander of Zimbabwe Defence Forces and political ally of
Mr Mnangagwa, added that the Zanu-PF had been hijacked by
people who did not fight in the 1970s liberation war, which
some commentators read as a criticism of Ms Mugabe, a vocal
critic of the former vice president.

In response, the party’s Youth League accused the military
chief of subverting the constitution.

“We will not fold out hands to allow a creature of the
constitution to subvert the very constitution which establishes
it,” said Kudzai Chipanga.

“Defending the revolution and our leader and president is an
ideal we live for and if need be it is a principle we are
prepared to die for,” he added.

This story first appeared on INDEPENDENT.CO.UK