Zimbabwe's army chief accused of 'treasonable conduct'

Breaking: Mugabe in trouble: 4 army tanks move towards capital

Mnangagwa had always been tipped as Mugabe's most likely successor but has in recent months increasingly come into conflict with first lady Grace Mugabe, who is vying to replace the 93-year-old president.

Sacked vice-president Mnangagwa, 75, a long-serving veteran of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation wars, had been viewed as a likely successor to Mugabe before the president fired him on 6 November.

Zimbabwe's top military general on Monday called for an immediate end to purges against former liberation war fighters in President Robert Mugabe's ruling party, after Emmerson Mnangagwa was stripped of his vice president's post.

Mugabe's 37 years in power has been anchored by support from the military, which has always said it will not back anyone for president who did not fight in the liberation war.

It said it stood by the "primacy of politics over the gun" and accused General Chiwenga of "treasonable conduct ... meant to incite insurrection".

Grace Mugabe, 52, has developed a strong following in the powerful youth wing of the ruling Zanu PF party.

Earlier, BBC correspondents in the capital, Harare, reported that a few armoured vehicles have been seen on a main public road outside the city having left one of the country's main military barracks, Inkomo.

Ninety-three year old President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is in trouble.

Pictures of tanks heading towards the capital circulated on social media Tuesday prompting rumors that a coup could be imminent.

"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 in a statement.

Earlier this year the country was gripped by a freakish spat between Grace and Mnangagwa that included an alleged ice-cream poisoning incident that laid bare the pair's rivalry.

Chiwenga also vowed military intervention to stop "counter revolutionaries" who had hijacked ZANU-PF and seeking to destroy it from within.

He fled the country and is thought to be in South Africa after issuing a searing five-page condemnation of Grace's ambition and Mugabe's leadership.

Despite the reports of the tanks, Zimbabwe's ruling party Zanu PF took to Twitter to deny rumours of a coup.

"The current purging which is clearly targeting members of the party with a liberation background must stop forthwith", Gen. Constantino Chiwenga told a news conference attended by about 90 senior army officers.

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