Zimbabwe: Who is saying what?

Zimbabwe’s army seizes control of the country, we look at the latest reactions.

Zimbabwe‘s army seized control of the country on Tuesday night, claiming it was removing “criminals” around Robert Mugabe.

An army spokesman said on Wednesday that the army is holding Mugabe for his own safety. 

There is no official word from the Mugabe family as to their whereabouts.

Among this unexpected series of events, the following are the latest reactions:  

From Zimbabwe: 

  • #ThisFlag, a citizens protest movement against Robert Mugabe’s rule, called for calm and the protection of all citizens following the army’s takeover of power in the country.
  • “Inorder to see a better Zimbabwe that we all want, we must now stand together. There has never been a more opportune time to be united than now,” the movement said in a statement on Wednesday.
  • “Zimbabwe needs you to remain calm but hopeful, Zimbabwe needs you to support and encourage each other,” the statement added.
  • Zimbabwean lawmaker: Army takeover constitutional

  • A Zimbabwean legislator has said the move by the country’s military to take over power and “confine President Robert Mugabe to his house” is constitutional.
  • Temba Mliswa, an independent member of parliament, said the army seized power because of instability in the country caused by First Lady Robert Mugabe.
  • “For some outside the country it is bad news but for those in Zimbabwe, it is good news because this is a timely intervention by the military and it is constitutional,” Temba Mliswa told Al Jazeera.
  • “The constitution clearly talks about the role of the military in terms of being the ones to protect the national security, interest and territorial integrity of the country. They are within their ambit to do what they are doing because there was instability in the country as a result of the first lady usurping powers from the president.
  • “The people of Zimbabwe elected Robert Mugabe as president, not Grace Mugabe. The military are there to restore law and order.”
  • War Veterans call for Mugabe to be removed: “Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe should be removed as the country’s leader and as first secretary of the ruling Zanu-PF party,” the Secretary-General of Zimbabwe’s War Veterans Association, Victor Matemadanda, said on Wednesday.

  • Army statement: Mugabe ‘safe and sound’: “Comrade R G Mugabe and his family, are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed. We are only targeting criminals around him,” Major General SB Moyo said on Wednesday. 

  • “As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.” 
  • Before the military takeover: On Tuesday, The youth wing of Zimbabwe’s ruling party said it is “ready to die” for President Robert Mugabe.

  • “We will not fold our hands to allow a creature of the constitution to subvert the very constitution which establishes it,” Kudzai Chipanga, leader of the ZANU-PF party’s Youth League. 
  • Chipanga stated the party wanted to see a peaceful, constitutional “democratisation” of Zimbabwe following the army move.


  • Grace Mugabe believed to be in Namibia: Sky News has reported that, according to sources, Grace Mugabe believed to be in Namibia. Al Jazeera is unable to confirm this report, as yet.

  •  Al Jazeera speaks to Zimbabwean lawyer Magaisa:

  • Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa in Harare describes the situation as tense: “The atmosphere, if I can describe, is tense. I’m Zimbabwean, I was born after independence from Britain. I’ve never experienced this kind of feeling in the air.

  • “At the moment, people are just wondering what is going to happen next. A South African plane from Johannesburg is also expected soon, and people are coming and going from the airport. It’s not as busy as it usually is, but it is open and it is functioning.” 

  • Army seized state TV: On Wednesday, November 15, the Zimbabwe army seized state TV and blocked off access to government offices.

  • The Zimbabwe Herald Newspaper announced on Twitter that a special edition will be available on paper on Wednesday.  

International reactions: 

  • AU: Zimbabwe crisis “seems like a coup”: The African Union (AU) chief has said the political crisis in Zimbabwe “seems like a coup”, while calling on the military to restore constitutional order.
  • Alpha Conde, who is also Guinea’s president, said the AU condemned the actions of army leaders in the country as “clearly soldiers trying to take power by force”.
  • “The African Union expresses its serious concern regarding the situation unfolding in Zimbabwe,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
  • Amnesty International called on Zimbabwe’s army to safeguard people’s rights: The global advocacy group, has called on Zimbabwe’s army to protect the rights of people during the current political uncertainty.
  • “It is essential that the military ensure the safety and security of all people in Zimbabwe – regardless of their political allegiance – and refrain from any action that puts lives and human rights at risk,” Deprose Muchena, Amnesty’s Southern Africa director, said.
  • “The military takeover should not be used as an excuse to undermine Zimbabwe’s international and regional human rights obligations and commitments.”
  • ‘Hard to say how things will turn out’: “It’s very fluid and it’s hard to say exactly how this will turn out,” British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said. “The most important point to make is that everybody wants to see a stable and successful Zimbabwe and I think we are really appealing for everybody to refrain from violence.”

  • Nigeria’s Buhari calls for calm: President Muhammadu Buhari has called for calm, peace and respect for the constitution in Zimbabwe, the President made this call in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity.  

  • Mugabe told Zuma he was confined to home but fine: South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma spoke to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday, and Mugabe told Zuma that he was confined to his home but that he was fine, the South African presidency said in a statement.
  • Special Envoys to Zimbabwe: President Zuma, in his capacity as chair of the Southern African Development Community, will send special envoys to Zimbabwe to meet with Mugabe and the Zimbabwean Defence Force, the South African presidency said in a statement. 

  • China is closely watching the situation: China hopes that relevant parties can properly handle their internal affairs, its foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday. 
  • South African President Jacob Zuma expressed hope on Wednesday that there would not be unconstitutional changes of government in Zimbabwe after the military seized power in Harare.

  • Mohamed Nasheed: Maldivian politician, human rights and environmental activist wrote:


  • US embassy closes: The US embassy closed to the public on Wednesday and encouraged citizens to shelter in place, citing “the ongoing political uncertainty through the night.”

  • UK embassy issues warning to UK citizens: The British Embassy issued a warning to UK citizens, citing “reports of unusual military activity.

  • Dutch embassy advises its citizens to stay indoors: “Due to the uncertainty in Zimbabwe, we advise Dutch nationals to stay indoors until the situation becomes clearer.”

  • Spanish embassy asks citizens to be cautious: Due to the political situation in Zimbabwe, extreme precautions are recommended in the city of Harare and surrounding areas.

  • Canada’s embassy wrote:  

  • India’s embassy: “No reason for concern” 

General reactions: 

  • “Heavy military presence at Robert Mugabe airport:” Dewa Mavhinga the Southern Africa Director with the Africa Division at Human Rights wrote: 

  • “It is an inside-the-party coup. The president has not been deposed. People are being arrested, the G-40 people are being arrested, but the G-40 never had the army in their hands. It’s relatively peaceful so far.”  Professor David Moore, speaking from Johannesburg, told Al Jazeera.

SABC news, the digital news portal of the South African Broadcasting Corporation, wrote: 

  • Trevor Ncube, a Zimbabwean entrepreneur and newspaper publisher, wrote that there are unconfirmed reports of arrests of cabinet ministers and prominent people. 

  • Former  Zimbabwean Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, retweeted: 

  • Mawarire a priest, citizen, and author wrote: 

Source: Al Jazeera