President Robert Mugabe is reportedly digging in, saying he is the only legitimate ruler and wants to finish his term as head of state, this as negotiations are currently underway in Zimbabwe for a possible way out of the crisis after the military took charge of the country this week.
South African President Jacob Zuma sent a two-member team, comprising Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and State Security Minister Bongani Bongo to meet Mugabe and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
Mugabe has been in charge for 37 years, taking over at independence in 1980.
Catholic priest Fidelis Mukonori is also taking part in the negotiations aimed at seeing the 93-year-old leader agree to a bloodless transition of power.
Government spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said there would be proper briefings with the media since the negotiations were still underway. Major General Sibusiso Moyo was not picking his mobile phone when the African News Agency tried to get in touch with him to get an official confirmation.
Mugabe’s motorcade, which was a lot shorter than usual due to the absence of the presidential guard escort unit trucks, could be seen on Thursday afternoon when they went to State House, where the negotiations are being held.
The military took over the country in the early hours of Wednesday morning, but insisted that it was not a coup, and, instead, they were protecting Mugabe from “criminals surrounding him”.
The SADC Organ Troika Member States is meeting in Gaborone, Botswana, Thursday afternoon, where foreign or external affairs ministers from Angola, Tanzania and Zambia, as well as South Africa’s international relations and co-operation minister will be in attendance.
As the situation unfolds, political parties and analysts say a national transitional authority would be the better direction in the event Mugabe accepts ceding power.
In a statement broadcast live on ZBC-TV and radio stations in the early hours of Wednesday morning, Major General Sibusiso Moyo said that as soon as the military had completed their mission, they expect the situation to return to normalcy. However, they did not state how long the mission would take.
People’s Democratic Party leader Tendai Biti, a finance minister during the government of national unity between 2008 and 2013, says the party would be glad if the developments converge around the idea of establishing a National Transitional Authority, which they say they have always advocated for.
“We, thus, strongly believe that a National Technical Transitional Council (NTTC) can only implement the successful implementation of the third way and consensus discourse on the economy. The NTTC must be made of competent Zimbabweans, whose mandate will be to put in place measures to turn around the economy and create conditions that enable Zimbabweans to use their creative energies to build a better society for all,” he said.
Political analyst Blessing Vava said if negotiations sail through and Mugabe agrees to leave office, the first step was to have an interim government.
“After that, there should be reforms and stability, free and fair elections, as well as a return to legitimacy,” he said.
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