Zimbabwe army leaves streets a month after Mugabe's ouster


Armed soldiers escort a prison van carrying former Zimbabwe finance minister Ignatius Chombo as he arrives at court to face corruption charges in Harare, Zimbabwe, 27 November 2017.

HARARE - Zimbabwe&39;s army declared an end on Monday to the military intervention that ousted Robert Mugabe, promising to shut down its last roadblocks in the capital and hand over to police.

The armed soldiers who took to the streets during last month&39;s de facto coup had largely disappeared from the Harare city centre by Monday afternoon. Just a handful could be seen standing around with civilian police.

READ: Remove sanctions on Zimbabwe: Mnangagwa

"Normalcy has now returned to our country. It is for this reason that ... we announce the end of Operation Restore Legacy today," Commander Phillip Sibanda said, referring to the name of the intervention that the army said targeted criminals in the entourage of the 93-year-old leader and his wife, Grace.

Civic groups have been urging the soldiers to leave the streets since Mugabe&39;s former deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was sworn in to replace him as president of the southern African country on 24 November.

Defence forces commander General Constantino Chiwenga, who spearheaded the de facto coup, was initially billed to address reporters, but he did not turn up.

The government said Chiwenga is set to retire, paving the way towards his widely anticipated appointment as vice-president.

Chiwenga is the top contender to become one of two deputies to new President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the next few days.

Army Commander Phillip Sibanda will succeed Chiwenga as the chief of the defence forces, a statement said.