Zimbabwe latest: Mugabe in crunch talks over his future

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Zimbabwe’s long-time President Robert Mugabe has been holding direct talks with the military over his future.

Pictures emerged of the 93-year-old meeting the army chief and 2 envoys from South Africa at his official residence in Harare.

The army place mr Mugabe under house arrest on Wed after moving in to take control.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says mr Mugabe should resign but sources suggest the president is resistant.
Why did the military take this action?

President Mugabe has been in control of Zimbabwe since it threw off white minority rule in 1980.

However, the power struggle over who may succeed him, between his wife Grace Mugabe and former Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, has split the ruling Zanu-PF party in recent months.

Last week, mr Mugabe came down in favour of his wife, sacking mr Mnangagwa, a veteran of Zimbabwe’s anti-colonial struggle.

That proven an excessive amount of for military leaders, who confiscate control of the country on Wed.

So what is going on on in Harare now?

It’s very unclear.

Photos in the Zimbabwe Herald showed mr Mugabe meeting army chief gen Constantino Chiwenga and the two South African envoys from the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) at State House in Harare.

Alongside them was Father Fidelis Mukonori, a Roman Catholic priest known to mr Mugabe for years who has been brought in to mediate.

Sources near the talks say mr Mugabe is refusing to stand down voluntarily before next year’s planned elections.

“He is refusing to step down. i believe he’s making an attempt to buy time,” one source close to the army leadership told the afp news organization.

Zanu-PF officials had earlier instructed mr Mugabe might remain nominally in power till the party congress in December, when mr Mnangagwa would be formally put in as party and national leader.
What do African country and therefore the region want?

South Africa is hosting millions of Zimbabweans who fled when the country’s economy crashed in 2008. it has a special interest in seeing stability improved.

South African Defence Minister Nosiviwe Maphisa-Nqakula and State Security Minister Bongani Bongo are the envoys meeting adult male Mugabe on behalf of Sadc, that South Africa currently leads.

They will be pushing for a democratic solution. The body, which represents sixteen countries, doesn’t support coup-led governments as this would set a dangerous precedent in the mostly peaceful region, says the BBC’s Pumza Fihlani in Johannesburg.

The head of the African Union (AU), Guinean President Alpha Condé, was clear the AU would “in no case accept” a military seizure of power. He aforesaid he was “inviting the army to return to its barracks and come back to constitutional order”.
And Zimbabwe’s opposition?

Mr Tsvangirai, head of the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T) party and therefore the main opposition leader in Zimbabwe, said on Thursday: “In the interests of the people, mr Robert Mugabe should resign… immediately.”

Mr Tsvangirai, who has been abroad receiving treatment for cancer, also called for a “negotiated all-inclusive transmutation mechanism” that might lead to “comprehensive reforms for free of charge and fair elections to be held”.

This has been echoed by another Zimbabwean opposition leader, Tendai Biti, who told the BBC: “It is imperative that we return to democracy… that we go back to legitimacy however we need a transitional period and i suppose, I hope, that dialogue will currently be opened between the army and Zimbabweans.”

What’s happened to Grace Mugabe?

Early reports instructed Mrs Mugabe had fled to Namibia, however sources currently say she is within the family compound along with senior figures from the “Generation-40” group that backs her – cabinet ministers Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere.

On Wed, one of her key allies, Zanu-PF youth wing leader Kudzai Chipanga, made a televised apology for criticising the head of the army as a war of words raged before the military takeover.

Mr Chipanga is thought to be in army custody but insisted his statement was voluntary.

Local media reports say a number of different senior members of the “Generation-40” group have also been detained.
What are Zimbabweans being told?

Zimbabwe’s media sometimes toe the govt line and today’s lead stories make it clear there’s a brand new line to follow.

There is a striking absence of powerful questions on what the military is doing.

“Business as was common countrywide,” says The Herald, a government-owned newspaper. Yesterday it confident readers there was “no military takeover”.

State TV and radio stations have came to regular programming, with Thursday’s lunch period news bulletin on state TV giving very little indication of the political upheaval.

Some privately owned newspapers have dared to deal with the attainable end of Robert Mugabe’s rule.

“Transitional govt planned … as Mugabe at bay,” the monetary Gazette reports. “Zimbabwe scents the top of an era,” it added.

“It might easily are entitled the top of an error. A 37-year-old error,” says a equally headlined comment in NewsDay.
Was this a popular uprising?

Not so far, no. There are no reports of unrest in Zimbabwe, then way this seems to be a struggle within Zanu-PF.
Correspondents say many of us have accepted that President Mugabe is being mitigated from office. Streets in Harare are said to be quieter than usual however people ar going about their business.

On Wed, troops and armoured vehicles encircled parliament and different key buildings.

Hours earlier, soldiers took over the headquarters of national broadcaster ZBC and issued a press release saying that the military was targeting “criminals” around President Mugabe.

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