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Zimbabwe Ruling Party Calls Military Chief's Comments Treasonous

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Martha O’ Donavan gets into an American Embassy vehicle after presenting herself to prison officers

Numerous tanks and military vehicles were seen traveling or parked on the road to Zimbabwe's capital Tuesday amid a political crisis involving strongman President Robert Mugabe.

Now-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 November 6.

Chiwenga on Monday warned that the military would not hesitate to step in to end purges against former liberation war fighters in President Robert Mugabe's ruling party after Mnangagwa was stripped of his vice president's post.

Zimbabwe's top military commander on Monday urged the ruling Zanu-PF party to put its house in order, saying the military would step in if the revolution that brought independence was under threat.

"The said statement by General Constantino Chiwenga which was not signed, and which did not represent the rest of the Command Element, suggests treasonous conduct on his part as this was meant to incite insurrection and violent challenge to the Constitutional Order", Moyo said.

Although the ruling ZANU-PF party has said it would never succumb to military pressure.

Tensions rose in Harare on Tuesday as armoured vehicles, military police and soldiers from Zimbabwe's powerful military drove through the outskirts of the capital.

eNCA's Zimbabwean correspondent Pindai Dube confirmed the tanks were visible in the streets of Harare, with sources indicating it was a "show of force" rather than a coup.

Speculation has been rife in Harare that Mugabe could seek to remove Chiwenga, who is seen as an ally of ousted Mnangagwa.

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.

He quoted the constitution to justify the military's interest in what was happening in the ruling party, saying that the military provided government with various forms of assistance as provided for by the supreme law.

"The current purging ... targeting members of the party with a liberation background must stop forthwith", he said.

Analysts said if Mugabe responded to Chiwenga's statement, he would be compelled to choose sides between war veterans and the young turks rallying behind his wife.

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