Harare – Zimbabwe’s military said on Friday it was making “significant progress” in talks with President Robert Mugabe for his departure while it pursues and arrests some allies of the leader and his wife.
Talks with Mugabe continued, the military said in a statement reported by the state-run Herald newspaper and Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.
Zimbabwe’s military is “currently 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”, the statement said.
“Significant progress has been made in their operation to weed out criminals around President Mugabe,” it said, adding that the military had already arrested some although others remained at large. Those sought had been “committing crimes that were causing social and economic suffering in Zimbabwe”.
The military is seeking Cabinet ministers and other top officials who had been associates of First Lady Grace Mugabe, part of a clique dubbed the G40 because many were in their 40s and 50s. They are of a different generation from the one that fought for independence from white minority rule.
Army troops and armoured vehicles continued to patrol the capital, Harare, as Zimbabweans went about their daily business.
The military has had Mugabe under house arrest since late Tuesday, yet it 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.
The ongoing negotiations appear to be trying to get Mugabe to agree to hand over to a new government. But difficulties could include the timing. The ruling party is set to meet next month, and Mugabe’s term ends next year. An election date has not been set.
In a striking image of the fluidity of the political situation, the Zimbabwe Herald on Thursday published photos of Mugabe jovially shaking hands with army commander Constantino Chiwenga, the general who ordered the president’s arrest.
Rapid political rise
Others pictured in the first round of talks at State House, the president’s official residence, include Defense Minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Intelligence Minister Kembo Mohadi, South African Cabinet ministers who are acting as mediators and a local Catholic priest, Fidelis Mukonori, whom Mugabe has used as a mediator before.
Grace Mugabe was not pictured. Her rapid political rise had alarmed many who feared she could succeed her husband after he fired his longtime deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, last week. That firing set off the military’s moves, and Mnangagwa is expected to lead any new government.
The military wants the process of establishing the new government to appear to be constitutional in order to maintain a veneer of legality and the approval of the 16-nation regional bloc, the Southern African Development Community, and the African Union.
As a landlocked country, regional sanctions by the bodies could be harmful to Zimbabwe’s already ailing economy.
A committee of SADC on Thursday has recommended an emergency summit of heads of state to discuss the Zimbabwe situation. It was not clear when that would take place.
My wife Grace ‘is being harassed… she cries daily’, Mugabe tells AU
Harare – Former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe says his wife is being harassed and cries daily, three months after he was forced to step down in the wake of a military takeover, a newspaper reported Friday.
Mugabe told the African Union’s Moussa Faki Mahamat during a courtesy call he made to the Mugabes’ Harare mansion this week that he doesn’t feel safe.
“They told you I was safe, but how can I be in this environment?,” Mugabe reportedly told Faki, who is chairperson of the AU commission.
“My wife is crying daily. They are persecuting her… What am I without my wife and family? We are not safe,” the Zimbabwe Independent quoted Mugabe as saying, citing “detailed notes” supplied by officials who attended the meeting.
Mugabe said his wife was being harassed over her PhD from the University of Zimbabwe. Last week UZ Vice Chancellor Levi Nyagura was arrested for alleged abuse of office for awarding her the degree in 2014. Critics say her thesis is nowhere near PhD standard.
‘Ruling through guns’
Mugabe reportedly insisted to Faki the PhD was genuine: “I used to see her here working hard day and night. I would assist her here and there, so how can someone wake up and claim she didn’t work for it? This is harassment.”
According to the leaked notes, Mugabe told Faki that Mnangagwa’s appointment as president was illegal, and appealed to the AU to help restore democracy in the country.
“We want you to assist to restore normalcy and democracy in the country and stop this thing of ruling through guns,” he reportedly said.
UK to deport at least 2 500 ‘illegal’ Zimbabweans
Harare – Britain has reportedly announced its intention to deport at least 2 500 Zimbabweans living illegally in that country.
According to New Zimbabwe.com, British ambassador to Zimbabwe, Catriona Lang, recently told Zimbabwean Deputy President Kembo Mohadi that her government intended to deport illegal Zimbabweans in that country.
The announcement came as Theresa May said that her government was “determined to reduce the number of immigrants coming into the country by thousands”.
In his response, Mohadi said that the southern African country had no problem taking back its nationals but it needed to check them to ensure they were truly Zimbabweans.
“… We said we want to vet them before they leave the UK. We want to know whether or not they are Zimbabweans or if they are not fugitives who had run away from justice,” Mohadi was quoted as saying.
Britain was Zimbabwe’s former colonial ruler.
Around 20 000 British citizens lived in Zimbabwe while at least 112 000 Zimbabweans lived in Britain, according to an AFP report.
Britain provided around $114m in aid to Zimbabwe every year.
Relations between the two countries went rocky under ex-president Robert Mugabe, particularly over the controversial land reform programme.
SOURCE NEWS 24