U.S. tells citizens in Zimbabwe to 'shelter' amid uncertainty

Zimbabwe’s Mugabe resisting army pressure to quit

Zimbabwe’s Mugabe resisting army pressure to quit

Robert Mugabe also owns Hamilton Palace in Sussex which cost $40 million (£30 million) which has since been left a derelict construction site. "Today begins a fresh new era and comrade Mnangagwa will help us achieve a better Zimbabwe".

The U.S. ambassador in Zimbabwe has instructed all employees to remain home on Wednesday due to "ongoing political uncertainty", the embassy said in a statement on its website amid speculation about a coup.

CODE President Elton Mangoma, said the coup which has been staged against President Robert Mugabe's government by the Zimbabwe National Army should translate into an early free and fair election.

"We wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not a military takeover", the army statement said. He says it is an attempt to pacify the degenerate conditions in the country so that it doesn't degenerate into conflict.

"We are only targeting criminals around (Mugabe) who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice".

Soldiers overran the national broadcaster ZBC late last night and this morning Maj Gen Sibusiso Moyo read a statement saying the army had taken action to "target criminals". Local residents said instead of the usual 11 p.m. newscast, music videos were played instead.

It has all the markings of a coup: a solemn soldier addressing the nation on state television in a beret and fatigues, armored vehicles in the capital and jittery, puzzled citizens.

"We must remind those behind the current treacherous shenanigans that when it comes to matters of protecting our revolution, the military will not hesitate to step in", he said.

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Gunfire was reported near Mugabe's private residence in Harare and explosions were heard in the city in the hours before the military's live TV address. "They will want to avoid that", Magaisa said.

A State Department official said the United States "encourages all Zimbabweans to approach disputes calmly and peacefully while following democratic, transparent, and constitutional processes for resolving differences".

He warned against targeting "members of the party with a liberation background" - a reference to Zimbabwe's struggle against white minority rule in the 1970s.

While military vehicle movement there is routine, the timing heightened unease that for the first time is seeing an open rift between the military and Mugabe.

Hours earlier, the head of the armed forces, General Constantino Chiwenga, has demanded an end to a purge in the ruling Zanu-PF party. "They might be trying to give a fig leaf to the notion that President Mugabe is still the leader".

In response to the conference, Mugabe's political party, Zanu-PF, accused Chiwenga of "treasonable conduct".

"The main indicator of a broader outbreak of violence would be the reaction of the Presidential Guard, which remains loyal to President Mugabe".

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