The Zimbabwe government has dismissed talk of an “imminent” military coup against President Emmerson Mnangagwa, blaming opposition leaders, the clergy and some foreign missions of fermenting public hatred of the Zimbabwean leader.In a statement on Wednesday, the National Security Council rubbished rumours that members of the security forces were planning to remove Mnangagwa from power over his handling of the deteriorating political and economic situation in the country.
“Government would like to sternly warn purveyors of this medley of falsehoods, who include such characters as Saviour Kasukuwere, Job Sikhala 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,” NSC member and Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe said, franked by army generals.
Kasukuwere is an exiled former cabinet minister who has been holed up in neighbouring South Africa since escaping from the country in 2019 while Sikhala is a vocal critic of Mnangagwa and a senior official of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance.
Kazembe also warned some western diplomats, private media houses, church leaders and non-governmental organisation of peddling “lies” aimed at tarnishing the image of the Zimbabwean authorities.
“Some foreign diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe have, quite often not shied from engaging in anti-government activism, which renders it difficult to differentiate them from card carrying members of the opposition,” the minister said.
The statement by the NSC came as Zimbabwe has been awash with speculation that junior army officers were unhappy about the state of affairs in the country, particularly the rising cost of living and corruption at the highest level.
Mnangagwa ironically came into power through a military coup that dislodge late president Robert Mugabe in November 2017, months after similar denials of tension between the political leadership and the army.