Tanks seen on road to Zimbabwe capital amid political crisis

Martha O’ Donavan gets into an American Embassy vehicle after presenting herself to prison officers

Martha O’ Donavan gets into an American Embassy vehicle after presenting herself to prison officers

Zimbabwe's ruling party described criticism of its conduct by armed forces commander Constantine Chiwenga as "treasonable" and meant to incite insurrection in the southern African nation, deepening the split between the military and 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe.

The military spokesman was not available to comment.

His downfall appeared to pave the way for Mugabe's wife, Grace, to succeed the 93-year-old president.

Mugabe is the world's oldest head of state, but his frail health has fuelled a bitter succession battle as potential replacements jockey for position.

Historically President Mugabe is generally afraid, and interprets any show of defiance as risk of a possible coup and has in the past tightened his personal security over simple things like social media dissent, or strikes by workers.

Today, four tanks were seen moving towards Harare, while two other tanks were seen parked beside the main road from Harare to Chinhoyi, 14 miles from the city, pointing in the direction of the capital.

Chiwenga said if this happens, the military will interject and stop the process.

"It's clear we are entering new territory here".

"No one wants to see a coup".

Chiwenga's statements on Monday that the military wouldn't permit "hijacking of the revolution" were "clearly calculated to disturb national peace and stability", Information Minister Simon Khaya Moyo, who's also the secretary for information for the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, said Tuesday in a statement.

The history of the revolution could not be rewritten by people who were not part of it, Chiwenga told the press conference which was also attended by the top brass in the military.

Although the ruling ZANU-PF party has said it would never succumb to military pressure. The long-serving veteran of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation war, had been viewed as a likely successor to Mugabe before the president fired him.

"As a result of the squabbling, there has been no meaningful development in the country for the past five years".

President Robert Mugabe's wife Grace, linked to a faction called G40, was accused of having been instrumental in the axing of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week.

Grace, now poised to become a vice president, did not fight in the liberation war.

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