Emmerson Mnangagwa
Mnangagwa: Appointed interim president

For decades general  Mnangagwa, known as the Crocodile, was at President Mugabe of Zimbabwe’s side, an ally who was relied on to do the dirty work and was described as the one person more feared than his boss.

After clashing with Mr Mugabe’s wife, Grace, the vice-president was accused of treachery and sacked. But he managed to get the backing of the opposition and the army.

Tuesday afternoon, armoured vehicles were spotted in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare a day after the army commander, General Constantino Chiwenga, threatened to step in to resolve the political tensions in the ruling ZANU-PF following Mnangagwa’s sacking.

His sacking has been interpreted as Mugabe’s way paving the way for his wife, Grace, to succeed him.

Mnangagwa, who enjoyed the backing of the military and is known as the “crocodile” because of his perceived shrewdness, fled the country.

Grace Mugabe
Under house arrest: Mugabe and his wife

On Monday, General Chiwenga warned that the military would not hesitate to step in to end purges against former liberation war fighters.

“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,” said the General.

He added: “The current purging  targeting members of the party with a liberation background must stop forthwith.”

ZANU-PF responded by accusing the commander of “treasonable conduct intended to disturb national peace and incite insurrection”.

While many discussions expressed concern about the military starting to intervene in Zimbabwe’s politics and whether the army’s chief’s actions were unconstitutional, there are some who suggest this might be the only way Mugabe can be deposed.