The 2017 “coup not coup” is still very fresh in a lot of people’s minds. This is why there was a lot of speculation and despondency on social media after some people observed and speculated about troop movements, especially around the capital Harare. There were a lot of wild theories and fake messages on social media as members of the general public tried to make sense of what was going on. It turns out there is really nothing sinister going on. According to the ZDF troops were being moved around the country for training exercises.

The Zimbabwe Defence Forces would like to inform the general public that it will be conducting a training exercise in Bindura, Mbire Muzarabani, Rushinga, Shamva and Mt Darwin districts of Mashonaland Central Province, from 22 September to 21 October 2022. This year’s training exercise is a follow up to a similar exercise conducted in Masvingo Province in 2021.

The training exercise is meant to sharpen and perfect operational skills so as to enhance the Zimbabwe Defence Forces capability to fulfil its mandate. The exercise involves the movement of a large number of troops and vehicles from Harare into Mashonaland Central Province. Therefore the general populace should not be surprised by these movements.

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Part of the ZDF’s message explaining troop movements

Some of the wild theories out there claimed that the ZDF was moving troops so as to protect gold fields from artisanal miners with some even claiming that the troop movements were in a bid to stop the sabotage of Invicticus’s gas and oil equipment in Muzarabani. While artisanal gold miners have been a menace in the past it seems the ZRP has the issue now mostly under control in areas where they used to cause havoc. There has also been no threat to Invicticus or their equipment whatsoever. It’s not even clear why some people thought this was the cause for troop movements.