Zimbabwe dismisses rumours of “imminent military coup”

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David Ochieng Mbewa

Zimbabwe’s Working National Security Council on Wednesday dismissed as “unfounded” rumours of a military coup in the making.

The Council said that the nation’s security forces remained “loyal, professional and dedicated to their constitutional mandate”.

The nation’s Home Affairs Minister, Kazembe Kazembe, issued a statement at Munhumutapa building in Harare with military chiefs in attendance.

According to the Council, peddlers of the rumour claim that former members of the ruling ZANU-PF “who fell by the wayside and went into exile” are uniting with some government leaders and security forces and elements of the opposition to undermine the legitimacy of the government and render the country ungovernable.

The peddlers further claim that, once the coup is executed, a National Transitional Authority, will be established and govern the country, without ZANU-PF, for an unspecified period of time.

“…nothing could be further from the true reality of Zimbabwe’s security situation now and for the foreseeable future. Indeed, both claims of a military coup and a National Transitional Authority in the making, amount to the mere agenda setting by merchants of discord and amongst our people, with the support of their foreign handlers,” the statement read in part.

The Council accused some opposition-aligned print and electronic media outlets, some civil society organisations and certain diplomatic missions of being in league with the said purveyors.

“They are completely unfounded. For the avoidance of doubt, there is no coup in the making, nor is there any form of transitional authority or inclusive government that is contemplated by the new dispensation, except in the fertile imagination of the purveyors in this false narrative.”

The Council sent a strong warning to the elements behind the rumours saying that the government will take action against them.

“The government would like to sternly warn the purveyors of this medley of falsehoods, who include such characters as Saviour Kasukuwere, Job Sikala and a coterie of their accomplices who we are aware of, not to cry foul when the long arm of Zimbabwean law catches up with them in due course.”

“We would like to take this opportunity to remind and assure the nation and the international community at large that Zimbabwe, under the New Dispensation and the able stewardship of President Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa, is stable and peaceful internally.”

Zimbabweans have grown increasingly frustrated with the direction the country has taken since the ousting of longtime leader Robert Mugabe in 2017 following a military takeover and days of civilian protests.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who succeeded him, has faced a number of political and socio-economic challenges in the subsequent years.

Firstly, there have been protracted rumours that there exists a division between him and Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga. Chiwenga led the coup that ousted Mugabe and some local media outlets once speculated that he was in charge. However, Mnangagwa dismissed those rumours saying that he and Chiwenga were comrades and understood each other.

The country’s economy, already facing one of its worst crises in decades, is grappling with runaway inflation and spiralling commodity and fuel prices amidst a food shortage. Additionally, the nation’s public sector has faced a number of strikes, particularly by medics due to low salaries and poor working conditions.

Even as the government struggles to address all these problems, it still has to contend with the COVID-19 pandemic and a surge in malaria cases.

The Council reiterated that the government was aware of the many difficulties facing the people of Zimbabwe.

“We, therefore, take this opportunity to assure all the people of Zimbabwe that government will spare no effort towards improving their livelihoods, along with the welfare and conditions of services of employees.”