Rumours of relief from the stranglehold of the Mugabe family regularly abound in Zimbabwe and many residents tend to ignore them. That said, there are enough reports flying around today to make many wonder if there is really fire beneath the latest smoke blowing through the population.

Visual footage posted of tanks in Harare

It could be nothing more than a threat after the army chief made a statement aimed at Grace Mugabe yesterday. There is a lot of anger at perceived moves by Grace Mugabe to take over from the 93-year-old President Mugabe, including the removal of Vice Presidents Emerson Mnangagwa and Joyce Mujuru.

This is the first time anyone has stood up to the Mugabe faction as General Constantino Chiwenga reminded cabinet yesterday that those seeking to wrest power from the heroes who actually fought in the War Of Liberation need to tread carefully.

ZANU PF Youth League swear to fight to their deaths

The Youth League, none of who are old enough to have actually participated in the war of liberation, have sworn to defend Mugabe to the end. There is no evident rationale behind this attitude. The leader, Kudzai Chipanga, released a video in which he accuses the General of stealing over USA$15 billion, along with Vice President Mnangagwa.

There is no proof of the theft but it is one of the recent accusations, along with witchcraft, levelled by the Mugabe faction against Mnangagwa.

Long-suffering populace

There have been several displays of discontent this year, from the long-suffering and very patient, Zimbabwean populace. Social media outrage was triggered when Mugabe ate a packet of imported crisps onstage at his birthday celebration.

Mugabe banned the importation of all luxury goods and police were forced to control the hungry and angry crowd who witnessed the crisp incident. It may seem trivial to those outside of the country but the act could prove to be as significant as Marie Antoinette's "let them eat cake" did, given the hunger and frustration in the country.

No evidence of change for the better

Mugabe is old, unwell and his wife and children recently purchased of two luxury Rolls Royce vehicles and limousines as well as a mansion in South Africa for the family. Those in power, or close to power are scrambling for a foothold to protect their own interests, including Mnangagwa.

The country has been subjected to abuse of power for decades, indeed since the death of Mugabe's first wife, Sally Mugabe. Sally Mugabe was a highly respected first lady who worked tirelessly to improve the lives of average Zimbabweans. She initiated very successful "campfire" projects uniting poor villagers and the country's national parks which encouraged the communities to protect their wildlife.

Sadly, Sally Mugabe died of kidney failure only ten years after independence and her positive influence died with her.

South Africa has stated they will not interfere in the event the situation escalates as Zimbabwe is a sovereign state. Zimbabwe remains in the thrall of rumour and hope.