The Oasis Reporters
Friday, November 17, 2017
“Significant progress” has been made in talks to ease Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe from power and encourage him to seek exile in South Africa, according to the military sources in Harare, capital of the southern African nation.
Mugabe made a surprise appearance earlier at a college graduation ceremony where he joined in singing the country’s national anthem, surrounded by his usual security aides.
The appearance came during an extraordinary series of negotiations with regional leaders over Mugabe’s exit after 37 years of ruling Zimbabwe with an iron fist.
Clad in academic gown and hat, Mugabe walked slowly in a procession on a red carpet to a podium as a marching band played.
Once on the podium, after singing Zimbabwe’s national anthem, Mugabe announced the opening of the graduation ceremony, and the crowd applauded.
It was not clear whether Mugabe, whose presidential security detail was present, would speak at the
ceremony or not.
Zimbabwe’s military is taking pains to show respect for the 93-year-old leader, the world’s oldest head of state, by referring to him as the president and the commander-in-chief. At the same time, it said Friday it was arresting and pursuing some people close to Mugabe and his wife, Grace Mugabe.
The military statement reported by the state-run Herald newspaper and Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation said military leaders are “engaging with the Commander-in-Chief President Robert Mugabe on the way forward and will advise the nation of the outcome as soon as possible.”
“Significant progress has been made in their operation to weed out criminals around President Mugabe,” the statement said, adding that the military had arrested some while others remained at large. Those sought had been “committing crimes that were causing social and economic suffering in Zimbabwe.”
In talks with the army chief on Thursday, Mugabe refused to resign, as sources suggested the veteran leader was “buying time” to negotiate his exit.
The talks in Harare came after soldiers put Mugabe under house arrest, took over state TV and blockaded main roads in a stunning turnaround for the president who has ruled the country with an iron fist since 1980.
Zimbabwe’s military chiefs said in statement Friday they had detained some “criminals” in Mugabe’s government after seizing power in the dispute over who would succeed the 93-year-old leader.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS, ZBC, and Zimbabwe Herald )