Zimbabwe’s army has positioned President Robert Mugabe underneath home arrest within the capital Harare, South African President Jacob Zuma says.
Mr Mugabe instructed Mr Zuma in a cellphone name that he was effective, the South African chief’s workplace mentioned.
Troops are patrolling the capital, Harare, after they seized state TV and mentioned they have been focusing on “criminals”.
The transfer could also be a bid to switch Mr Mugabe along with his sacked deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, BBC correspondents say.
Mr Mnangagwa’s dismissal final week left Mr Mugabe’s spouse Grace because the president’s seemingly successor.
Mr Mugabe, 93, has dominated the nation’s political scene because it gained independence from the UK in 1980.
How the drama unfolded
After days of rigidity and hearsay, troopers seized the state broadcaster ZBC late on Tuesday.
A Zimbabwean military officer, Main Basic Sibusiso Moyo, went on air and denied there was a coup, however mentioned the army was focusing on “criminals” round President Mugabe.
Maj Gen Moyo additionally mentioned Mr Mugabe and his household have been “secure and sound and their safety is assured”. It isn’t clear who’s main the army motion.
Since then army autos have been out on the streets of Harare, whereas gunfire has been heard from northern suburbs the place Mr Mugabe and plenty of authorities officers stay.
In a statement, Mr Zuma’s workplace mentioned: “President Zuma spoke to President Robert Mugabe earlier right this moment who indicated that he was confined to his house however mentioned that he was effective.”
How we bought right here
At coronary heart is an influence wrestle over who succeeds Mr Mugabe. The rivalry between his spouse Grace and Mr Mnangagwa has break up the governing Zanu-PF.
Following a name from Mrs Mugabe, Mr Mnangagwa was removed from the vice-presidency earlier this month.
However on Monday, military chief Gen Constantino Chiwenga mentioned the military was ready to behave to finish purges inside Zanu-PF.
Gen Chiwenga is a detailed ally of Mr Mnangagwa and each are veterans of the 1970s battle which ended white minority rule.
One of many main members of the Zanu-PF faction led by Grace Mugabe, Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo, is being detained, a authorities supply instructed Reuters.
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A unprecedented gamble
By Andrew Harding, BBC Southern Africa correspondent
A fast present of army pressure, a number of arrests… after which what?
These are, in fact, unpredictable occasions for Zimbabwe and but there’s a probability that the military’s extraordinary in a single day gamble will repay, and that President Robert Mugabe, humiliated and powerless, will nonetheless be allowed to retire with not less than the pretence of dignity.
You will need to keep in mind that Mr Mugabe is just not being challenged by the Western governments he has warned in opposition to for many years, or by Zimbabwe’s political opposition, or by a mass rebellion in opposition to financial hardship.
That is, basically, an inner energy wrestle inside Zanu-PF and whoever emerges victorious can count on a newly purged get together to fall obediently into line.
Mr Mugabe’s mistake, at 93, was to imagine he was nonetheless highly effective sufficient to construct a dynasty to again his spouse, Grace, to succeed him.
As a substitute, his as soon as loyal deputy, Emerson Mnangagwa, could also be poised to take management. If that’s the case, many international governments are seemingly to present him the advantage of the doubt and hope he can rescue Zimbabwe from years of misrule.
Is that this a coup?
In his assertion Maj Gen Moyo mentioned “this isn’t a army takeover of presidency”.
However regardless of the Zimbabwean army’s denials, to many observers their actions bore lots of the hallmarks of a coup.
There was no direct remark from President Mugabe, nor his spouse Grace, whose whereabouts are unclear.
Key regional blocs the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Growth Group (SADC) don’t look favourably on unconstitutional modifications of energy, which could clarify the Zimbabwean army’s wording.
How the information is being seen
In Harare, some have been delighted. “We’re going to have a superb life, we’re wanting ahead to Christmas, due to what has occurred,” one girl instructed BBC Information.
“I need to thank the overall for eradicating this tyrant,” mentioned a person. “He was ruling the nation as if it belonged to his household.”
The chief of the battle veterans, Chris Mutsvangwa, instructed Reuters: “It is the tip of a really painful and unhappy chapter within the historical past of a younger nation, through which a dictator, as he grew to become outdated, surrendered his courtroom to a gang of thieves round his spouse.”
Each the UK International Workplace and US embassy in Harare has suggested its residents to stay indoors till the state of affairs turns into clearer.
China, Zimbabwe’s greatest buying and selling companion, says it’s intently watching the state of affairs and hopes that the related events can correctly deal with their inner affairs.