HARARE (Reuters) – Soldiers took over the headquarters of Zimbabwe’s ZBC state broadcaster in the early hours of Wednesday, two members of staff and a human rights worker said, compounding speculation of a coup against 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe. Video at bottom of page
Some ZBC members of staff were manhandled when soldiers occupied the premises, the sources said. However, staff were told they “should not worry” as the soldiers were merely there to protect the site, one source added.
Hopewell Chin’Ono, a journalist in Harare reported: “I have spoken to a trusted ZBC staffer. The ZBC complex is now under control of the military. The news reader Rumbi Takawira was roughed up a bit according to my source. Some journalists were also roughed up. The military is controlling who comes in or out of the Broadcast Center. It’s being reported that Mugabe is now under house arrest.”
However Professor Jonathan Moyo, through his Twitter account rubbished reports that his boss was now under house arrest. He further revealed that on Tuesdays President Mugabe chairs cabinet meetings, and that this Tuesday’s cabinet meeting had just ended around 6pm.
Just 24 hours after military chief General Constantino Chiwenga threatened to intervene to end a purge in the ruling party, a Reuters reporter saw six armored personnel carriers on major thoroughfares on the outskirts of the capital.
Aggressive soldiers directing traffic told passing cars to keep moving through the darkness.
“Don’t try anything funny. Just go,” one soldier said on Harare Drive.
Heavily armed military personnel in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare have reportedly cordoned off premises of the state TV broadcaster ZBC as well as major arteries into the country’s capital Harare.
A few hours ago videos began circulating on social media showing army tankers along Harare – Chinhoyi road travelling from Inkom Barracks destined for the capital.
Soldiers and army personnel were also seen travelling along other roads while seemingly setting up check points.
The presence of troops, including the movement of at least six armored personnel carriers from a barracks northwest of Harare, sparked rumors of coup against Mugabe, although there was no evidence to suggest Zimbabwe’s leader of the last 37 years had been toppled.