Zimbabwe on edge as talks to end Mugabe rule and military takeover stall

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Out of power and under house arrest, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe wants a say in his political fate. But there are conflicting reports on the likelihood he’ll resign.


Opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai wants Mugabe to step aside and pave the way for a new government.  All the uncertainty has leaders of Africa’s southern regional bloc concerned and demanding an emergency summit.

CGTN’s Farai Mwakutuya details the political stand-off.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is reportedly insisting he remains Zimbabwe’s only legitimate ruler.  The 93-year-old is locked in negotiations with military top brass and envoys dispatched by South African President Jacob Zuma. But there are conflicting reports on the likelihood and timeframe of a Mugabe resignation. Negotiators are working to reach a settlement and end the country’s political crisis. Mugabe has been under house arrest since the country’s military seized control of the government earlier this week.

The state-run Zimbabwe Herald newspaper published several photos reportedly of the meeting. The images show Mugabe with Army Commander Constantino Chiwenga and South Africa envoys at the State House in Harare. But the photos did not show First Lady Grace Mugabe, her rapid political rise led to speculation she could succeed her husband in the presidency. There was also no sign of former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa. He was fired by Mugabe prior to the military takeover and reportedly fled the country.  

 

All the uncertainty has leaders of Africa’s southern regional bloc concerned and demanding an emergency summit. Cabinet ministers from four countries in the 15-nation Southern African Development Community have called for an emergency summit to discuss the political turmoil in Zimbabwe. The head of the African Union, Guinean President Alpha Condé, has warned the AU “will in no case accept” the military seizure of power. He said he was “inviting the army to return to its barracks and return to constitutional order.”

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai weighed in – demanding Mugabe resign and pave the way for a new government. He’s pushing for a negotiated, inclusive transitional government as well as comprehensive reforms before elections.

Across the country, Zimbabweans long frustrated by crackdowns on dissent and a collapsing economy were enjoying freedoms they haven’t had in years. Soldiers manning the few checkpoints leading into downtown Harare greeted motorists with a smile, searching cars without hostilities and wishing motorists a safe journey. Street vendors who endured police raids after Mugabe ordered their removal were working without hassles. Trade unions urged workers to go about their business.