Being a soldier means having a high standard of discipline which entails following orders given by high ranking officers and carrying them out without question. So, if the theory of Zanu PF wanting to shake things up was in fact true and soldiers in the Zimbabwe Army were still loyal, it could have some truth to it. Another likely scenario is that the soldiers may have been acting on behalf of their disgruntled Generals who have had enough of the whole Zimbabwe situation. The Generals in a show of just how much power they and the army wields may have wanted to make a point to show the powers that be that things can change. There are so many examples in history where the military has taken over which is something that could happen in Zimbabwe.
Another scenario could be that it wasn’t in fact members of the army but individuals in possession of military clothing. In the past, certain groups of people were given army clothing to go out and intimidate the people of Zimbabwe. For some reason, that uniform strikes fear into the hearts of average people who will only be thinking about staying out of harms way when confronted by someone in uniform even if they are unarmed. These individuals who in the past were given uniform to wear on their ‘missions’ got a bit to carried away with their actions and tarnished the image of the Zimbabwe National Army which is why it became forbidden for civilians to wear camouflage material. These individuals may have banded together and seen it as a way of getting their hands on something to carry them through a few days.
Or, it could simply be a case of soldiers just having had enough and in a moment of madness decided to go on a rampage through the streets of Harare. As Alex pointed out in his article, soldiers are not immune to the economic meltdown, collapsed infrastructure, cholera………… and the list goes on. They and their families have to contend with all of these woes like the rest of Zimbabwe and they being human are bound to snap at some point. It was reported that they went on the rampage after they failed to withdraw cash from a bank. The difference with them is that being soldiers they have to behave accordingly especially when in uniform.
Whatever the truth is, it is scary to see people who are trained to kill acting in such a manner. Even for Mugabe himself (if it was not his doing) it must leave him worrying a bit and with a few ‘what ifs?’ going through his mind. Whatever the case may be, hopefully the events do not escalate into yet another difficult situation that Zimbabwe has to deal with.