Zimbabwe coup leaders ban all political activities

ZIMBABWE coup leaders on Friday cancelled all political activities and arrested a cabinet minister and others have gone into hiding, deepening antagonism between the Robert Mugabe and the Prime Minister's party ahead of a possible election, amid reports of a silent coup currently underway.

Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are supposed to be partners in a unity government but it is coming apart at the seams.

Zimbabwe coalition government’s Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament from the MDC-T have gone into hiding for fear they would be arrested and tortured as Zimbabwe descend into a terrorism State on the back of a silent coup led by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, has already sounded that a coup has taken place in Zimbabwe, he is meeting South African President Jacob Zuma to brief him on the deteriorating political situation in Zimbabwe.

MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti told a news conference that police had for third time this month cancelled a major rally called by his party for Sunday, saying Mugabe’s ZANU-PF had organised a football tournament at the same venue.

"Democracy is under siege because of toxic activities of our (ZANU-PF) colleagues whose intention is (the) collapse of the global political agreement and parliament and to force through an election this year," he said.

There was no immediate comment from the police or ZANU-PF. 

The MDC said Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma, who was on bail on a graft charge over a fuel import deal, was arrested on Friday for the second time in two weeks.

Mangoma, a Tsvangirai ally and deputy treasurer of the MDC, is accused of forcing officials to cancel a tender contract for a power supply pre-payment system. Mangoma’s lawyer Selby Hwacha said the minister would plead not guilty.

"As far as we are concerned this is part of a harassment campaign that ZANU-PF has embarked on against our structures, and it is the type of campaign that we have suffered before every general election," an MDC official told Reuters.

Tsvangirai urged regional leaders last week to intervene to save Zimbabwe’s unity government from threats posed by a spate of political violence against MDC supporters.

Tsvangirai and Mugabe were forced into a coalition two years ago after a disputed poll in 2008, which led to mass violence and a flood of refugees into neighbouring South Africa.

Relations between the coalition rivals have worsened in the past two weeks since police first arrested Mangoma and the Supreme Court nullified the election of another Tsvangirai ally as speaker of parliament.

Police have also arrested dozens of activists accused of plotting protests against Mugabe similar to those that toppled long-serving leaders in Egypt and Tunisia.

Critics say Mugabe, 87 and in power since independence in 1980, has used brutal policing and vote rigging to keep his grip on power despite a deep economic crisis.

Mugabe denies the charges, and accuses Western media of waging a hate campaign against him over his seizures of white-owned farms for redistribution to black Zimbabweans.

Mugabe is pressing for fresh elections this year, which analysts say will favour his ZANU-PF party if no major political reforms are put in place, including a new constitution and improved voter registration