November 15, 2017 / 11:22 AM / 10 months ago

Coup? What coup? Zimbabwe's Herald misses army move on Mugabe

HARARE (Reuters) - In the annals of missed stories, it ranks up there.

Military vehicles and soldiers patrol the streets in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 15,2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

When Wednesday’s edition of The Herald, Zimbabwe’s main state newspaper, hit the streets, Zimbabweans were surprised to learn that talk of ructions between President Robert Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF party and military chief Constantino Chiwenga were unfounded.

“ZANU-PF unfazed by Chiwenga,” the Herald declared on its front page, reporting on the party’s denunciation of the military chief as a traitor the previous day.

Most people in Harare had spent the night glued to social media and the Internet for updates on a coup slowly unfolding against 93-year-old Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s leader of the last 37 years.

Just after 4 a.m., an army spokesman in camouflage fatigues appeared on state media to announce that the army had seized power. The final line of his declaration: “To the media, we urge you report fairly and responsibly”.

Reporting by Ed Cropley; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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