Zimbabwe Army Arrest Finance Minister – Govt Source
Zimbabwe’s military has detained Finance Minister, Ignatius Chombo, on Wednesday after taking over power in an attempt to fish out “criminals” around President Robert Mugabe, a government official confimed this .
Chombo, a leading member of the so-called ‘G40’ faction of the ruling ZANU-PF party, led by Mugabe’s wife Grace, who is in position to succeed the 93-year-old president.
Zimbabwe’s military took control on Wednesday targeting “criminals” around Mugabe but gave assurances on national television that the 93-year-old leader and his family were “safe and sound”.
Soldiers and armoured vehicles blocked roads to the main government offices, parliament and the courts in central Harare, while taxis ferried commuters to work nearby, a Reuters witness said.
“We are only targeting criminals around him (Mugabe) who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice,” Zimbabwe Maj.-Gen.l SB Moyo, Chief of Staff Logistics, said on television.
“As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.”
Neither Mugabe nor his wife Grace have been seen or heard from.
Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change has called for a peaceful return to constitutional democracy, revealing that it hoped the military intervention would lead to the “establishment of a stable, democratic and progressive nation state”.
The leader of Zimbabwe’s influential liberation war veterans called for South Africa, southern Africa and the West to re-engage Zimbabwe, whose economic decline over the past two decades has been a drag on the southern African region.
“This is a correction of a state that was careening off the cliff,” Chris Mutsvangwa told Reuters.
“It’s the end of a very painful and sad chapter in the history of a young nation, in which a dictator, as he became old, surrendered his court to a gang of thieves around his wife.”
Mugabe has led Zimbabwe for the last 37 years.
Barely 24 hours after military chief General Constantino Chiwenga vows to interfere to end a purge of his allies in Mugabe’s ZANU-PF, a Reuters reporter saw armored personnel carriers on main roads around the capital.
Aggressive soldiers commanded passing cars to keep moving through the darkness.
“Don’t try anything funny. Just go,” one barked at Reuters on Harare Drive.
The United States and Britain advised their citizens in Harare to stay indoors because of “political uncertainty.”