A soldier is seen on an armed vehicle in the city center of Harare, Zimbabwe. Calm and peace have been urged for Zimbabwe where the military announced that it has taken control of all government institutions in the southern African country. Picture: Xinhua/Stringer

Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister, Paul Chimedza, was allegedly arrested on Thursday, in the Bubi district, Matabeleland North, according to a report.

Zimbabwean independent daily newspaper NewsDay reported Chimedza was allegedly arrested at an army roadblock.

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According to the report, Chimedza joins three other Zanu-PF officials, Jonathan Moyo, Ignatius Chombo and Kudzanai Chipanga who are in military custody.

On Monday, the head of the Zimbabwean defence forces, General Constantino Chiwenga, had warned that the army would take “drastic action” if factions in the ruling Zanu-PF did not stop a purge of party members with military backgrounds.

This followed last week’s sacking of war veteran Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa. He was locked in a power struggle with President Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace, who is supported by the youthful “G40” party faction. Mnangagwa had fled to South Africa but was reported to have returned to Zimbabwe to take control of government.

Also read: Mugabe resisting military pressure to quit, says source

ZDF Major General Sibusiso Moyo, in a statement broadcast live on ZBC-TV and radio stations in the early hours of Wednesday, said the military’s aim was to target “criminals around the president”. The statement came after the army seized control of state television, but denied that it had carried out a coup.

On October 10, Mugabe swore in Chimedza after a Cabinet reshuffle on October 9. Chimedza, who was sacked as health and child care deputy minister in 2014, took over from Shuvai Mahofa, who passed away in August.