Zanu confirms first family detained, names VP party president

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (R) shares a joke with his vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa during Mugabe's birthday celebrations at Great Zimbabwe in Masvingo, February 27, 2016

The Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) has confirmed that President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace are in custody but dismissed reports of a military coup.

“Thanks for your concerns, there is NO coup happening in Zimbabwe. Please continue with your lives and face up to your own problems,” the party tweeted last evening as four battle tanks besieged the capital Harare.

On Wednesday morning, the party said Zimbabwe has not had a coup and that “there has been a decision to intervene because our constitution had been undermined”.

“Last night the first family was detained and are safe, both for the constitution and the sanity of the nation this was necessary. Neither Zimbabwe nor ZANU are owned by Mugabe and his wife.”

It said in the interim Comrade E Mnagngawa [Emmerson Mnangagwa the dismissed vice president] will be president of ZANU PF as per the constitution of the revolutionary organisation.

“There was no coup, only a bloodless transition which saw corrupt and crooked persons being arrested and an elderly man who had been taken advantage of by his wife being detained.”

The party said today begins a fresh new era and that Mnangagwa will help them achieve a better Zimbabwe.  “The few bangs that were heard were from crooks who were resisting arrest, but they are now detained ZANU PF has a way of solving our own problems, the situation is stable and Zimbabwe is open for business.”

VP Mnangagwa, Mugabe and Grace at a recent event

“The centre is strong and there is peace with honest leadership. Please note and be warned. Comrade Mnangagwa has not got a twitter account we know of one in his name. It is not him. It’s a supporter or a fake account- but not him.”

While some wondered whether the twitter account was authentic, Zanu tweeted again: “This account will either be quiet or present the views of ZANU PF and comrade Mnangagwa. Hence forth consider this official. To respond to concerns from media, this account will report to EM. It is not controlled by a faction.”

ZANU PF Youth League‏ tweeted saying contrary to international reports, the gallant Zimbabwean army has not staged a COUP. “There is no COUP in Zimbabwe. Neither is there crisis.”

The youth league said the army is simply effecting a National Democratic Project and it’s doing so with peaceful aplomb.

“The Youth League would want to confirm the detention of Cde K Chipanga. His safety has been guaranteed & has implored us to comply with the National Democratic Project which is underway. We would also want to commend the military for conducting the NDP with minimal force.”

Mnangagwa, a powerful figure in the ruling Zanu-PF party, fled to South Africa last week after he was fired and was then stripped of his lifetime membership of the party.

The dismissed Vice-president landed at Manyame Airforce Base to take control of government.

While Mugabe is under house arrest at his ‘Blue Roof’ residence in Borrowdale suburb, Major General SB Moyo, Chief of Staff Logistics, says their mission will be accomplished and return the situation to normalcy.

Earlier, the military detained Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo, a leading member of the so-called ‘G40’ faction of the ruling ZANU-PF party, led by Mugabe’s wife Grace, that had been vying to succeed Mugabe.

Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwayo, Zanu PF commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and Higher Education minister Prof Jonathan Moyo aka Jonso, a leading proponent of a faction of Zanu PF known as G40, who was poised to be appointed third vice president were also arrested.

ZANU–PF has been the ruling party in Zimbabwe since independence in 1980. The party has been led by Mugabe, first as Prime Minister with the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and then as President from 1988 after merger with the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) and retaining the name ZANU–PF.

At the 2008 parliamentary election, the ZANU–PF lost soul control of parliament for the first time in party history and brokered a difficult power-sharing deal with the Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (MDC), but subsequently won the 2013 election and gained a two-thirds majority.