Reports emerged this morning that the 93-year-old president has been placed under house arrest after being removed from power by the country’s military.
Dan Walker, 40, introduced the breaking story, telling BBC viewers: “The military in Zimbabwe have taken over the state broadcast but denies they’re staging a coup and says President Mugabe is safe.”
“An army general appeared on television after shootings and explosions were heard in the capital,” Louise, 49, continued, before adding: “Let’s speak to our Africa editor Fergal Keane who’s reported extensively from Zimbabwe and joins us right now from the Congo.
“Good morning to you, thanks for joining us Fergal,” she said. “How serious is what’s going on?”
However, Fergal’s line appeared to fade in and out, leaving his report interrupted and incoherent, as he explained: “This is huge moment, not just in the story of Zimbabwe but for the African continent itself…”
“Fegal Keane,” Louise chipped in. “I’m just going to ask that questions again because we’re having a few problems with your line.”
“We’re supposed to be living in an age where coup d’etas…” he continued, apparently unable to hear the BBC Breakfast presenter.
“Yep, Fergal, I’m just going to ask you, you were telling me how serious this situation is and you were telling me it was serious for the whole continent,” Louise tried again.
“Indeed it is because we’re supposed to be living in an age where military coup d’etas are over in Africa,” Fergal said, the sound problems apparently fixed. “That’s clearly not the case.
“Whatever the army in Zimbabwe says, this looks like a coup, it talks like a coup, therefore it is a coup,” Fergal added. “The key question now is what happens to Mugabe.
“We’re told that the first family is safe and sound, that means obviously they’re under something like house arrest somewhere.”
Zimbabwean military took over the state broadcaster ZBC overnight, before airing a statement declaring: “We wish to make this abundantly clear this is not a military takeover of government.
“What the Zimbabwe defence forces is doing is to pacify a degenerating political, social ad economic situation in our country, which if not addressed may result in violent conflict,” Major General SB Moyo said in the statement.
BBC Breakfast airs weekdays at 6am on BBC One.