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

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.