According to multiple news sources, President Robert Mugabe is confined to his home and is safe. President Jacob Zuma of South Africa has spoken to him by telephone.
The military continues to strengthen it’s grip in key areas around the capital with reports that it now controls the airport and police depots around Harare.
Unconfirmed but multiple reports say that the ousted Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who fled to South African last week after his firing by Mugabe is expected to return to head an interim government. The ruling Zanu PF says he is now the head of the party.
The military has reportedly detained some members of the Police.
Zimbabwean Military detaining Police in Harare
The UK, Canada and US are all urging their citizens in Zimbabwe to stay indoors.
Although the military continues to deny that it’s operations are a military coup to end the nearly four decades rule of Mugabe, the situation on the ground says otherwise.
South African President Jacob Zuma has announced that, due to the seriousness of the situation, his country will mediate in the crisis and is sending his defense and security minister to Zimbabwe.
President Zuma is calling on the Zimbabwean military to respect the country’s constitution South Africa has always supported the Mugabe regime and maintains significant military and economic clout in the region.
STATEMENT ON THE SITUATION IN ZIMBABWE FROM THE SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENCY READS AS FOLLOWS:
President Jacob Zuma, in his capacity as chair of SADC (the Southern African Development Community), is sending special envoys to Zimbabwe and Angola in light of the unfolding situation in the Republic of Zimbabwe.
The president is sending the minister of defence and military veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and the minister of state security, Adv Bongani Bongo, to Zimbabwe to meet Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwean Defence Force.
President Zuma spoke to President Robert Mugabe earlier today, who indicated that he was confined to his home, but said that he was fine. South Africa is also in contact with the ZDF.
The special envoys will also be sent to the Republic of Angola to see President João Lourenço, chair of the SADC organ on politics, defence and security, to brief him on the situation.
President Zuma has reiterated his call for calm and restraint and for the ZDF to ensure that peace and stability are not undermined in Zimbabwe.
SADC will continue to monitor the situation closely.
Appearing in Parliament Wednesday, the Guardian website quotes Prime Minister Theresa May as saying the situation in Zimbabwe was still fluid and urged restraint on both sides. Prime Minister May is calling for the avoidance of violence, and said the primary concern was for British nationals in Zimbabwe.
International news outlets are quoting reports that First Lady Grace Mugabe is out of the country in Namibia. This is yet to be confirmed.
West African Journal Magazine is monitoring the situation in Zimbabwe and can report that the military has just issued a statement saying it intends to address the human security threats to Zimbabwe and urged other security agencies to cooperate for the good of the country.
The military says President Mugabe and his family are said to be safe but that they are targeting “criminals” around him.
The army spokesperson said the military operation was not a take over.
Earlier, the BBC and France 24 reported that soldiers have taken over the headquarters of Zimbabwe’s national broadcaster, ZBC, amid a growing political crisis.
The US State Department is advising it’s citizens in Zimbabwe to “shelter in” due to the political situation. The UK embassy also issued an advisory to British citizens to also stay home/indoors
Explosions have also been reported in the capital, Harare, but the cause is unclear.
Very little official information is filtering out of Zimbabwe on the situation there tonight.
Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti posted on Twitter a short while ago that “something is definitely happening. This might be the elusive tipping point.”
West African Journal Magazine will continue to monitor news on developments in Zimbabwe.