Harare - While business and all other life continued normally in Harare on Tuesday, many were concerned about four armoured troop carriers moving south towards the capital late in the afternoon. Some media reported the vehicles were tanks.
There was regular traffic around President Robert Mugabe’s huge private residence in the northern Borrowdale suburb late in the afternoon, and traffic on all the roads around State House etc. was normal. No extra police or members of the Presidential Guard had been deployed, according the several people who live nearby.
Others said they had not noticed any unusual events or unusual presence of the army or police since Armed Forces commander, Constantine Chiwenga demanded on Monday that President Robert Mugabe immediately cease “purging” allies of Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was sacked from his vice president’s job a week ago and fled to Mozambique and then South Africa.
Police raided a small Non Governmental Organisation Magamba late Tuesday. Its manager, US citizen Martha O’Donovan was released on bail on Monday after being accused of tweeting messages critical of Mugabe, charges she denies.
“It feels just like any other day,” said a businessman who had just driven through the centre of Harare and asked not to be identified. “We presume any coup plotters would know that Zimbabwe would run out of fuel in a week or so, and that South Africa would likely cut off electricity etc. Zimbabwe is a landlocked country and cannot survive if all borders were closed.”
The African Union and the regional Southern African Development Community are both on record that they do not recognise any authority which comes to power via coup d’etat.
Earlier in the day, ruling Zanu PF youth leader Kudzai Chipanga, held a press conference in Harare, but blocked some media from attending. "We as Zanu-PF youth league are a lion which has awakened and found its voice, therefore we will not sit idly and fold our hands whilst cheap potshots and threats are made against Mugabe,” he said in a statement widely released on social media. He accused Chiwenga of theft of billions of rands.
Not all army seniors support Chiwenga and his ally Mnangagwa, and some seniors are close to the other Zanu PF faction, G 40, which is loyal to first lady Grace Mugabe and her crew of more junior members of the Zanu PF party.
“Soldiers will get paid on Thursday,” said relative of one of two soldiers in the Zimbabwe National Army. “They say they have heard nothing. And nothing has been reported in ZBC (Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation) or The Herald (the main state-controlled daily newspaper.) about Chiwenga. So many people do not even know that he had a press conference on Monday.
"Life is going on. But those of us who know about what is going on are very depressed, because we want something to happen as life is too bad,” said a usually well informed vendor who lives close to the city centre.
Independent Foreign Service