After ruling Zimbabwe for 37 years, Robert Mugabe has submitted his resignation as president in a letter to parliament.
The news marking the end of an era sparked celebrations in the capital, Harare.
Soldiers on November 15 took control of the headquarters of the state broadcaster ZBC and blocked access to government offices, but the army – despite putting Mugabe under house arrest – says this is not a military takeover.
The crisis came amid an apparent bid to expand the Mugabe dynasty. First Lady Grace Mugabe was said to be eyeing the vice presidency after Mugabe sacked Emmerson Mnangagwa, an ally of the army, on November 6.
Incoming president, Emmerson Mnangagwa is set to chair his first politburo meeting as leader of the ruling ZANU-PF on Thursday following the dismissal of President Robert Mugabe on Sunday.
In a welcome speech delivered at the party headquarters late on Wednesday, Mnangagwa promised supporters of the liberation party a break from the past.
Zimbabwe’s incoming leader Emmerson Mnangagwa has made his first public appearance since returning to the country.
Crowds outside the ruling ZANU-PF party headquarters cheered as Mnangagwa addressed supporters.
Zimbabwe’s former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is expected to be sworn in as president following the resignation of Robert Mugabe, will return home on Wednesday.
He is expected to land in Zimbabwe at 11:30 GMT, after he fled the country in fear of his safety after being sacked on November 6.
The deputy spokesman for Antonio Guterres, the United Nations secretary-general, has encouraged Zimbabweans to “maintain calm and restraint” after Robert Mugabe’s resignation as president.
Farhan Haq said “the secretary-general and his predecessors have made clear that we expect all leaders to listen to their people.
“That is a cornerstone of every form of government and needs to be followed in every continent and in every nation.”
General Constantino Chiwenga has called on all political parties in Zimbabwe to show restraint in the wake of Robert Mugabe’s resignation as president.
In a surprise move, Zimbabwe’s army seized power on November 15, saying it wanted to “target criminals” around the 93-year-old who were leading the ruling ZANU-PF party and state astray.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe’s former vice president whose sacking triggered the crisis, will be sworn in as president on Wednesday or Thursday.
That’s according to Patrick Chinamasa, legal secretary of the ruling ZANU-PF party, who spoke to Reuters news agency.
Separately, ZANU-PF chief whip Lovemore Matuke said Mnangagwa would serve the remainder of Mugabe’s term until the next general elections, which must be held by September 2018.
The news of Robert Mugabe’s resignation as president has been greeted in the capital, Harare, with songs, dancing and car horns.
“People are coming out onto the streets, they are calling this day Independence Day,” Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from Harare, said.
“It’s getting chaotic,” she added. “Some people still can’t believe this has happened. People say they are really excited and hoping for a better future.”
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has announced his resignation after nearly four decades as the country’s leader.
Cheers broke out in Zimbabwe’s parliament after speaker Jacob Mudenda read out Mugabe’s resignation letter.
“I Robert Gabriel Mugabe in terms of section 96 of the constitution of Zimbabwe hereby formally tender my resignation … with immediate effect,” said Mudenda, reading the letter.
Ian Khama, the president of Botswana, has posted online an “open letter” calling on his Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe, to resign.
In the letter, Khama asks the 93-year-old to “be sensitive to the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe and to do the honourable thing by voluntarily relinquishing power”.
Khama also wrote that Zimbabweans have been “subjected to untold suffering” under Mugabe, who has ruled for 37 years.
Crowds of Zimbabweans gathered outside parliament and upped their call for President Robert Mugabe to quit as MPs began a process to impeach the 93-year-old leader.
Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from outside parliament in Harare, said the message was clear. “They are saying they hope Mugabe will step down and the country moves on.”
Regional dignitaries from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), of which South African President Zuma chairs, are keenly watching the unfolding situation.
The SADC bloc is holding an extraordinary session on Tuesday to discuss the Zimbabwe situation in neighbouring Botswana where the SADC is headquarters is located.
While the region’s leaders remain silent on Mugabe’s fate, Botswana’s President Ian Khama has openly called for the world’s oldest president to step down.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, the vice president Mugabe sacked on November 6, has reportedly joined calls for the leader to resign.
“The people of Zimbabwe have spoken with one voice and it is my appeal to President Mugabe that he should take heed of this clarion call and resign forthwith so that the country can move forward and preserve his legacy,” he is claimed to have said in a statement.
The full statement is available here on NewsDay, a Zimbabwean newspaper. Al Jazeera is working to confirm whether this statement was legitimate.
Zimbabwe’s army chief has said ex-vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose dismissal on November 6 prompted a military takeover, is expected to return to the country “shortly”.
General Constantino Chiwenga told reporters on Monday that, following consultations, embattled President Robert Mugabe had started working towards “a definitive solution and roadmap for the country”.
Chiwenga said Mugabe was in touch with Mnangagwa, who is seen as his likely successor.
“The security services are encouraged by new developments which include contact between the president and the former vice president … who is expected in the country shortly,” the military chief at the press conference.
“Thereafter the nation will be advised of the outcome of talks between the two,” added Chiwenga.
Tim Murithi, head of the Africa Programme at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, has told Al Jazeera that impeaching President Robert Mugabe may be challenging because the veteran leader is likely to still have a support base in parliament.
“That’s quite a rare occurrence where the party sanctions its own leader,” he said.
“What ZANU-PF I think will seek to do is perhaps also encourage members of the opposition to vote with them in this process so as to almost send a clear message that the parliament is speaking with one voice in terms of the request for Mugabe to step down,” added Murithi.
“The challenge is there might be one or two of Mugabe’s hench-men-and-women within parliament who might decide to in fact find ways to obfuscate, to extend the process and buy Mugabe time so that he can seek some kind of a solution that is not what has been prescribed by the military-led putsch.”
ZANU-PF, Zimbabwe’s ruling party says, it has instructed its chief whip to move ahead with impeachment proceedings against President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled the country for 37 years.
Meanwhile, hundreds of students marched through the streets of the capital, Harare, demanding the 93-year-old president step aside.
Student Fanuel Kaseke said life for young Zimbabweans under Mugabe “has been very difficult”.
“Most failed to come to college because of a lack of finances, and those who have graduated still cannot manage to get employment,” he told Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa.
“There’s no employment in Zimbabwe and you find that there’s also a cash crisis.”
Paul Mangwana, ZANU-PF’s deputy secretary for legal affairs, says it should take parliament two days to impeach President Robert Mugabe, 93.
Speaking to reporters, he said politicians with the ruling party will move a motion for impeachment on Tuesday and set up a committee.
On Wednesday, the committee will report back and “we vote him out”, he added.
Mangwana said the main charge against Mugabe is “allowing his wife to usurp government powers” and that “he is too old and cannot even walk without help.”
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party, has said he doubts the ruling ZANU-PF party’s ‘s ability to tackle Zimbabwe’s challenges.
Tsvangirai said ZANU-PF has been hurt by a factional struggle and that it appears to have differences with the army over how to handle the country’s political turmoil after the moves against President Robert Mugabe.
He said the upheaval could undermine the opportunity for a “fresh start” and called for international supervision of next year’s planned elections.
“It would be inimical to progress and the future of the country if all this action was about power retention at all costs,” said Tsvangirai.
A deadline imposed by the ruling ZANU-PF party for Mugabe to quit as president has expired, with no response from Mugabe.
The party, which expelled Mugabe as its leader on Sunday, threatened impeachment if Mugabe did not respond.
Chris Mutsvangwa, the head of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, has renewed a call for Mugabe to resign.
Speaking in Harare, he said: “Mugabe, go now, go now … your time is up!” He added: “Please leave State House and let the country start on a new page.”
War veterans, who fought alongside Mugabe during the 1970s struggle for liberation from Britain and spearheaded the repossession of white-owned commercial farms in the 2000s, claim their president has betrayed the revolution.
There is heartbreak on the streets of Harare after Mugabe failed to resign in his address on Sunday evening. Read more about that here.
In a move that has shocked Zimbabweans, President Robert Mugabe did not announce his resignation as he addressed the nation on state television, and instead vowed to oversee the ruling ZANU-PF’s party congress next month.
Mugabe’s defiance on live TV came after ZANU-PF officials removed him as leader of the party on Sunday and gave him a Monday deadline to resign as president – or face impeachment.
“The congress is due in a few weeks from now. I will preside over its processes, which must not be pre-possessed by any acts calculated to undermine it or to compromise the outcomes in the eyes of the public,” said Mugabe.
Robert Mugabe was fired as leader of the ruling ZANU-PF party and replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the deputy he sacked this month, sources at a special ZANU-PF meeting to decide Mugabe’s fate told Reuters news agency.
“He has been expelled,” one of the delegates told Reuters. “Mnangagwa is our new leader.” Three other delegates confirmed Mugabe’s dismissal.
President Robert Mugabe must leave office on Sunday, the head of Zimbabwe’s war veterans association said, as pressure builds on the leader to resign after a military takeover.
“The army must finish with him today. He’d better give in to them now,” Chris Mutsvangwa told reporters ahead of a crunch meeting between Mugabe and the generals who took control of the country.
The youth wing of Mugabe’s ruling party has released a statement in which it calls on Mugabe and his wife to step down.
Blaming Mugabe’s failed attempt to groom his wife, Grace, as his successor, the Zanu-PF Youth League said that she should be expelled from the party and that Mugabe should quit.
“We take great exception to the vulgar language which had become party to Mrs. Mugabe’s vocabulary and clearly showed that she lacked grooming and true motherhood.
“It is unfortunate that the president allowed her to usurp executive authority form him, thereby destroying both the party and government…
“We therefore call for the expulsion of Mrs. Mugabe from the ZANU-PF forever and for the President Robert Mugabe to step down so that he can rest as the elderly statesman that he is,” the statement said.
Zimbabwe’s embattled president will hold talks with military commanders on Sunday, state broadcaster ZTV said, quoting Catholic priest Fidelis Mukonori who has been acting as a mediator.
Mugabe will meet with the army chiefs who seized power, in a bid to end the crisis that has gripped the country, state TV said.
The announcement of the crunch talks comes after tens of thousands of overjoyed protesters flooded the streets of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.
Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from a mass anti-Mugabe rally in Harare, says crowds are dispersing after being instructed to do so by the army.
“We will tell you when something is announced, but go home for now,” the military told the protesters, according to Mutasa.
“People are leaving; they now are going to another venue, the Zimbabwe Grounds, where there is a celebration and people anticipating the announcement that Mugabe will resign,” added our correspondent.
“There is no confirmation whether that will happen, and no idea when it will happen, if it does happen, but a lot people are saying that there is a definite feeling in the country that change is really coming.”
Zimbabwe’s president and his wife, Grace, are “ready to die for what is correct” and have no intention of stepping down in order to legitimise this week’s military coup, his nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, has told Reuters news agency.
Speaking from a secret location in South Africa, Zhuwao said on Saturday that Mugabe had hardly slept since the military seized power on Wednesday but his health was otherwise “good”.
Ian Khama, the president of Botswana, has urged Mugabe to step down, saying the Zimbabwean leader has no regional diplomatic support.
“I don’t think anyone should be president for that amount of time,” Khama told Reuters news agency, referring to Mugabe’s 37 years in power.
“We are presidents. We are not monarchs. It’s just common sense,” added Khama.
As thousands gather in Zimbabwe to protest against President Robert Mugabe, South African President Jacob Zuma – the 93-year-old leader’s close ally – said the region supports “the people of Zimbabwe”.
Regional dignitaries from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are expected to meet on Sunday in an extraordinary session to discuss the Zimbabwe situation in neighbouring Botswana, where the SADC headquarters is located.
Zuma chairs the SADC.
Florence Mguni, a 59-year-old who went to train in Mozambique as a liberation fighter at the age of 15, travelled overnight from Bulawayo to Harare in hope of witnessing Mugabe’s departure. “We went to fight in the war, I was taught how to hold a gun as a young girl but today Zimbabwe is free and I am poor. I’m a widow and my children aren’t in school because I can’t always afford to pay their fees,” she said.
Tapiwa Magidi, a 32-year-old geologist, said Mugabe should resign because the 93-year-old leader was not serving young people. “We are a lost generation, most of the young people in this country were born after independence but we are now grown and we don’t have much,” he told Al Jazeera. “We can’t get jobs, we have to live at home with our parents and we can’t even afford to get married.
By mid-morning, thousands in Harare turned out to march against Mugabe in a rare show of public defiance.
Here is more on the marches planned for the day.
Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from Harare, is posting images and video of the event. You can follow her on Twitter at @harumutasa.
“Zimbabweans of all races here, blacks and whites,” Mutasa said of a rally at Robert Mugabe Square.
All 10 of ZANU-PF’s provincial structures have passed a motion of no-confidence against Robert Mugabe and called on him to step down as the ruling party’s first secretary.
In a rare show of defiance, the provincial branches’ move was carried by Zimbabwe’s state broadcaster ZBC.
Meanwhile, a private radio station owned by one of Mugabe’s aides, Supa Mandiwanzira, the minister of information, communication, technology and couriers Services, on Friday broadcast messages calling on citizens to take to the streets on Saturday.
Following the votes by ZANU-PF’s branches, the party’s Central Committee is now expected to hold an emergency meeting on Sunday to pass a resolution of no-confidence in Mugabe’s 40-year leadership of the party.
A poster circulating in the Zimbabwean capital is calling on citizens to participate in a march on Saturday to “remove Mugabe from power.”
Calls for the rally to the State House say both the military and the opposition are behind it.
“We can’t have a 93-year-old person ruling more than 15 million people,” the poster says.
The US secretary of state has called the developments in Zimbabwe a “concern”, urging “a quick return” to civilian rule.
“Zimbabwe has an opportunity to set itself on a new path, one that must include democratic elections and respect for human rights,” Rex Tillerson told foreign ministers from African countries ahead of a meeting in Washington, DC.
Temba Mliswa, an expelled ZANU-PF member and independent parliamentarian, says if Mugabe refuses to step down, a motion to pass a no-confidence vote will be put before parliament at its next sitting on Tuesday.
“He is an old man, he is sick and he is in a state of shock so he needs to digest the news because he never imagined this day would come,” Mliswa told Al Jazeera.
“He can no longer resist, he should know his time is up,” added Mliswa.
Chris Mutsvangwa, the leader of Zimbabwe’s influential war veterans, said on Friday that Mugabe would not be allowed to resist the military and remain in power.
Mutsvangwa added that the veterans saluted Zimbabwe’s military for seizing power earlier in the week.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe should end his attempts to remain in office after the military seized power this week as he has no regional diplomatic support to stay in power, Botswana President Ian Khama said on Friday.
The military intervention, which political sources say could pave the way to a national unity government after 37 years of Mugabe rule, also presented “an opportunity to put Zimbabwe on a path to peace and prosperity”, Khama told Reuters news agency.
“I don’t think anyone should be president for that amount of time,” he said. “We are presidents, we are not monarchs. It’s just common sense.”
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has appeared in public for the first time since the army’s takeover on Wednesday.
Mugabe, who was believed to be under house arrest, attended a university graduation ceremony in Harare on Friday, where he announced the opening of the event.
Zimbabwe’s military said it was engaging in talks with President Robert Mugabe on a path forward, promising an update on the outcome soon.
The military also reported significant progress in an operation targeting “criminals” linked to the president.
Mugabe has refused to resign, despite pressure from the country’s opposition.
Regional officials are making efforts to solve the crisis, as our journalist in Harare reports.
A local mediation team that includes two government officials and a Catholic priest are reportedly involved in talks to find a solution to Mugabe’s confinement.
People on the streets shied away from commenting, but Cletus Mubaiwa, 29, an electrical engineer, told Al Jazeera he hoped Mugabe’s impasse with the army would be resolved peacefully.
Some government offices that were closed have re-opened.
Meanwhile, several of Mugabe’s top ministers, including Minister of Finance Ignatius Chombo, are currently being detained by the army at the King George VI military barracks.
Zanu-PF National Youth League Secretary, Kudzanai Chipanga who is also being held at the military barracks, publicly apologised to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General, Constantino Chiwenga, for castigating the general’s call for Mugabe to stop purges within the ruling party.
On Wednesday evening, Zimbabwe state media urged all civil servants, business owners and traders to go to work on Thursday.
The mood on Thursday morning, according to Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa in Harare, was “calm and quiet” with “some people already heading to school and work”.
Catholic priest Fidelis Mukonori, the man who acts as chaplain to Mugabe and his family, is attempting to negotiate the “political exit” of the 93-year-old leader. But Mugabe insists he can only be removed through a party leadership vote.
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, has returned to Harare after reportedly undergoing cancer treatment in South Africa. He is expected to deliver a statement later today.
#ThisFlag, a citizens’ movement protesting against Mugabe’s rule, has called for calm and the protection of all Zimbabweans following the army’s takeover of power.
“In order 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.
A Zimbabwean legislator has claimed the move by the country’s military to seize power and “confine President Robert Mugabe to his house” is constitutional.
Temba Mliswa, an independent member of parliament, said the army took power because of instability in the country caused by First Lady Grace 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,” 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 gambit 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.”
On the streets of Zimbabwe’s capital, guarded optimism and concern about the future dominate discussions after the army’s seizure of power. Read more here.
Amnesty International, 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,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty’s Southern Africa director.
“The military takeover should not be used as an excuse to undermine Zimbabwe’s international and regional human rights obligations and commitments.”
Boris Johnson, Britain’s foreign secretary, said in a statement: “It’s hard to say exactly how this will turn out. Everybody wants to see a stable and successful Zimbabwe. We are appealing for everyone to refrain from violence, that is the crucial thing.”
Earlier in parliament, he had a more colourful tone saying: “Nobody wants simply to see the transition from one unelected tyrant to a next.”
The Southern African Development Community (SADC), a regional body, said it has noted the political situation in Zimbabwe with “great concern”, adding it hopes the situation “will not lead to unconstitutional changes of government”.
SADC called on the army and government to solve the crisis “amicably”.
Earlier, South African President Zuma, in his capacity as SADC chairman, said he was sending special envoys to Zimbabwe and Angola in light of the crisis. Angola chairs SADC’s peace and security arm.
MDC on Tuesday called on people to defend civilian rule in the country following the army’s threat.
The war veterans met earlier in the day and gave a press conference.
“On the streets, people are waiting to see if this is going to happen,” said Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa in Harare.
War veterans, who fought alongside Mugabe during the 1970s struggle for liberation against Britain and spearheaded the repossession of white-owned commercial farms in the 2000s, regularly claim that Mugabe has betrayed the revolution.
The Herald newspaper released a special edition, given the dramatic events of the day.
The afternoon edition’s headline is: “The Herald: No military takeover”
An earlier edition read: “Zanu-PF unfazed by Chiwenga”, referring to the army commander who has challenged Mugabe.
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.
Grace is the first lady and is at the centre the crisis.
You can read more about Grace Mugabe in a recent pre-crisis feature here.
The Namibian Sun, an English-language newspaper, tweeted a statement from the government that did not mention Grace.
The statement said Namibia has been following the “unfolding developments in Zimbabwe with concern”.
“Namibia is concerned that the present situation in Zimbabwe creates uncertainty that is not conducive to peace, stability and consolidation of democracy in Zimbabwe and the region as a whole.”
The office of South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has said Mugabe has indicated that “he was confined to his home but said that he was fine”.
In a statement posted online, the office said South Africa is in touch with the Zimbabwe military. “President Zuma has reiterated his call for calm and restraint and for the ZDF [military] to ensure that peace and stability are not undermined in Zimbabwe,” the statement said.
In his address, which was broadcast later on Wednesday, South African President Zuma said: “Given the seriousness of the situation, I have taken the decision to send an envoy to be able to conduct the leaders of the defence force who have undertaken these operations, but also to meet with President Mugabe so that we have a [clearer] picture of what is happening.”
Professor David Moore, speaking from Johannesburg, told Al Jazeera: “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.” The G-40 is Grace Mugabe’s political faction.
On whether or not Mugabe will be deposed, Moore said: “I don’t think Mugabe will be deposed. I think the plan will be as is indicated in Chiwenga’s speech on Monday night to guarantee that the extraordinary congress, which is set up for the end of December this year instead of next year. In other words, before the election of July next year which was planned by G-40. I think Mugabe will see the way the wind is blowing. He’s very, very good at keep[ing] his finger to the winds of these conflicts.
Al Jazeera has learned that South African President Jacob Zuma is expected to speak at 11:00 GMT. We will bring you that speech, as and when it happens, at aljazeera.com/live.
There is a significant number of Zimbabweans living in South Africa.
A journalist in Harare, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Al Jazeera that foreign hotel guests at the Cresta Lodge in Harare were leaving.
Earlier the US and UK had warned their citizens in Harare against attending demonstrations or discussing the president.
Trevor Ncube, a Zimbabwean businessman living in South Africa, said flights in and out of Zimbabwe were operating as usual. Ncube is verified on Twitter, and is a critical voice on Mugabe. “Air Zimbabwe took off for Bulawayo this morning and the SAA flight from Harare landed a while ago,” he tweeted.
Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from Harare, confirmed that airports were open as usual.
Martin Muradzikwa, a mobile phone shop owner in Harare, told Al Jazeera he feared clashes between soldiers and Mugabe loyalists would break out.
Main branches of international banks were closed, due to their proximity to government buildings.
Several high-profile, Zanu-PF individuals have been detained and those at large are being pursued, according to reports.
Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from Harare, said the atmosphere on the streets felt tense. “I don’t think people expected this kind of military takeover. 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.”
Mutasa also said, however, that it was business as usual for now. “There’s no outward panic, you’re not seeing people running away or fleeing.”
Zimbabwean newspaper The Herald ran with the headline: “Zanu-PF unfazed by Chiwenga”, referring to the army general.
As yet, there is no official comment from the government or the Mugabe family as to the president’s whereabouts.
The US and UK have advised their citizens in Harare, the capital, to stay indoors amid the uncertainty. “You should avoid political activity, or activities which could be considered political, including political discussions in public places and criticism of the president,” Britain warned.
In a televised address early on Wednesday morning, military spokesperson, Major General SB Moyo, said the army was seeking to “pacify a degenerating, social, and economic situation”, and denied a coup.
“We are only targeting criminals around [Mugabe] and are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country, in order to bring them to justice,” he said. You can read the statement in full here.
On Wednesday, November 15, the Zimbabwe army seized state TV and blocked off access to government offices.
This came after reports of explosions and gunfire the previous evening.
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, an ally of the army chief and a veteran of the country’s struggle for independence, was sacked on November 6 by 93-year-old Mugabe for showing “traits of disloyalty”.
Mnangagwa, who fled the country soon after, was seen as a likely successor to the ailing president, and his ousting now appears to pave the way for First Lady Grace Mugabe.
Army commander Constantino Chiwenga said on Monday, November 13, that the military would act if purges against former war liberation fighters did not cease.
Zanu-PF on November 14 accused the army chief of “treasonable conduct” after he challenged Mugabe over the sacking of the vice president.
There were unconfirmed reports of explosions and shooting in the capital, Harare, on Tuesday evening.
War veterans, who fought alongside Mugabe during the 1970s liberation struggle and spearheaded the repossession of white-owned commercial farms in the 2000s, claim Mugabe has betrayed the revolution.
The ongoing purges of scores of Mnangagwa allies have widened the rift between the Mugabes and various groups of war veteran leaders.
Victor Matemadanda, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe National War Veterans Association, recently told Al Jazeera the ongoing expulsions were a strong indication that Mugabe was acting in his own interests and those of his wife.