Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe is said to be holding a meeting with South African government officials who were sent by President Jacob Zuma to resolve the stalemate occasioned by military takeover on Wednesday.
Zimbabwe’s Newsday reported that Mr. Mugabe’s convoy was seen Thursday afternoon moving from his ‘Blue Roof’ residence in Harare where he had been detained by the military since Wednesday to the State House.
Mr. Mugabe was pushed aside in the early hours of Wednesday by military leaders, in what many see as a potential end to the 37-year-old rule.
Mr. Mugabe, 93, had vowed to be in charge of the country until his death. But a recent decision to make his wife, Grace, the president of the southern African nation, prompted a military intervention Wednesday morning.
Military leaders in uniform took over state broadcaster, ZBC, on Tuesday, a day after the chief of army staff, Constantino Chiwenga, warned of possible military intervention due to alleged inflammatory rhetoric of politicians.
But the military has maintained that its intervention was not a coup. Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was sacked last week by Mr. Mugabe, is now widely believed to have been favoured by the military as the next leader.
Mr. Zuma sent his Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and State Security Minister Bongani Bongo to Zimbabwe to meet with Mr. Mugabe and the military.
The team is said to be holding talks with Mr. Mugabe Thursday afternoon, although sources said the leader had refused to step down until he completes his current tenure, Reuters news agency reported. His current tenure expires next year.
Morgan Tsvangirai of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, is planning a press conference to reiterate his demand for Mr. Mugabe’s resignation, Zimbabwe’s Newsday reported.
In 2008, the MDC won a majority in parliamentary polls, defeating Mr. Mugabe’s Zanu-PF. But Mr. Tsvangirai withdrew from the second round of the vote, sparking a crisis that eventually led to a power-sharing arrangement.
The arrangement collapsed in 2013, prompting Mr. Tsvangirai to proceed on exile, where he’d remained largely until returning to the country after yesterday’s ‘coup’.