So... what's going on in Zimbabwe right now? 6 key points to consider 2 years ago

So... what's going on in Zimbabwe right now? 6 key points to consider

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe appears to have been removed from power - following an incredible (and at times controversial) 37 years in power.

On Tuesday, the state military took control of the nation overnight and placed the elderly politician (he is the world's oldest leader) under house arrest.

Speaking after state broadcaster ZBC was also seized by the army, a military spokesperson revealed that Mugabe and his family are safe.

Sibusiso Moyo added that people in the southern African country should stay calm and "limit unnecessary movement".

In light of the extraordinary events taking place in Zimbabwe, here we look at the six key areas that are currently being debated internationally...

1) Who is Robert Mugabe?

Robert Mugabe, a former teacher, was instrumental in the fight to end the white minority control in Zimbabwe (then known as Rhodesia) in the 1960s and Seventies after British rule in the country ended.

He went on to become prime minister between 1980 and 1987, when he then became president. He's been in charge since.

He's a widely controversial figure; he earned support for his efforts to reverse colonialism in the country, but his rule became harsher over the decades, ushering in famine and economic strife.

He's also been accused of corruption and human rights abuses, with some organisations claiming he's responsible for millions of deaths of his own people.

2) Where is he now?

Mugabe, who is now 93, has been put under house arrest. Despite appearances, the army insists that this is not a coup.

"We are only targeting criminals around (Mugabe) who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country," said Sibusiso Moyo, who also claimed that things would go back to normal once their mission is complete.

South African president, Jacob Zuma, said on Wednesday morning that he had spoken to Mugabe, who "indicated that he was confined to his home but said that he was fine."

Images from social media suggest that the home of the country's finance minister, Ignatius Combo, was the target of violence last night.

Other ministers and government officials are thought to have fled.

3) Was this move expected?

Mugabe sacked his vice president and close ally, Emmerson Mnangagwa, last week after Mnangagwa fell out with Mr Mugabe's wife, Grace.

The disruption in Zimbabwe started on Tuesday when tanks were seen rolling into Harare, the country's capital.

Mnangagwa has since been spotted arriving back into Harare, fuelling speculation that he'll take control of the country with the backing of the military.

4) Why is Mugabe's wife so significant?

Grace Mugabe is a colourful but divisive character in the southern African country - who has over time developed political ambitions of her own.

It's thought that Mnangagwa's firing last week was part of a plan to give Grace a much stronger role in government and pave the way for her to succeed her husband after his death... something that's caused significant upset among some of the government's most loyal supporters, according to CNN.

Grace is now believed to have left the country.

5) What is Harare like right now?

Images from the capital showing soldiers taking control of the police have done little to dispel concerns of a coup.

Meanwhile, there are reports that people are queuing to withdraw large amounts of cash at ATMs in the city.

Some foreign embassies have called on people not to go outdoors.

However, reporter Singai Nyoka has said that the situation has not descended into chaos.

"The situation is quieter than usual but some people have decided to go to work and to allow their children to go to school," she told BBC Africa from Harare.

"There isn't that fear or panic, despite the fact that the military has taken over."

There are military checkpoints in certain parts of the city, however, and some people were seen being lead away at gunpoint at the city's airport, she added.

6) What's next for the country?

It's not clear. While it might not be a coup in name, the military taking control of the country is certainly a big departure from the norm.

What Emmerson Mnangagwa does next will be telling. He played a key role in Mugabe's rule of the country.

If he does assume leadership, it would likely spell more of the same economic uncertainty and violence that Zimbabwean people endured under Mugabe.