Zimbabwe's Ruling Party Says Army Chief Wants To 'Incite Insurrection'

Zimbabwe's Ruling Party Says Army Chief Wants To 'Incite Insurrection'
Tanks were seen outside the capital, Harare, as tensions between the military and the ruling party grow.

Army leaders are at odds with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and his ruling party.

On Tuesday, the ruling ZANU-PF party said the country's army commander "meant to incite insurrection." A day earlier, Gen. Constantino Chiwenga said "the military would not hesitate to step in" to stop what he called a "purging and cleansing process" to remove "members of the party with a liberation background."

The general was talking about a recent shuffle in the party.

Last week, Mugabe fired his vice president. Many saw the move as a way to boost his wife in her political aspirations to succeed the 93-year-old leader.

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has the support of army veterans; he's one of the few remaining members of Zimbabwe's first cabinet after winning a war of independence from white-minority rule. The military has said it would only back a leader who participated in the liberation and has intervened to tamp down outside opposition.

With tensions running so high, questions began to swirl about the likelihood of a coup.

It didn't help that on Tuesday, a handful of tanks and military vehicles were seen near the capital city Harare. News outlets pointed out it was unclear whether or not the troop movement was routine or a show of force.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly said the ZANU-PF denied a coup was taking place in Zimbabwe.