Friday 17 November 2017

Zimbabwe Coup Updates: Robert Mugabe Seen Moving Through Harare

Harare, Zimbabwe (CNN)The decades-long grip on power of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe appeared to be over on Thursday as his main opposition rival returned to the country amid efforts to form a transitional government.

Morgan Tsvangirai, who had been receiving cancer treatment abroad, returned to Harare after Wednesday's military takeover, two sources with knowledge of his movements said.

One source, a senior member of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) party, said talks were underway with military leaders about an administration that includes the opposition, with the tacit backing of key regional allies.
The source described the arrangement as a "a done deal," but there was no indication on Thursday that Mugabe plans to go quietly. The 93-year-old leader, who is under house arrest in Harare, has not made any public statement since the military seized control Wednesday.

Key developments

Mugabe detained: South African President Jacob Zuma said the veteran leader was being held at home but was "fine." Rumors have swirled that Mugabe would make a statement but none has so far been forthcoming.
South African envoys: Two envoys dispatched by Zuma arrived in Harare for talks Thursday. Zuma, as chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), called for a meeting of the group in Botswana for Thursday.
Grace Mugabe: It was unclear whether the President's 52-year-old wife was at home with him in Harare. Robert Mugabe's efforts to position his wife as his successor infuriated the old guard in his party.
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Transition talks
Zimbabwe's military seized control of state institutions early Wednesday and placed Mugabe under house arrest, but insisted it was not staging a coup, throwing the country into political limbo.
Sources told CNN that transition talks were taking place in Zimbabwe to engineer a peaceful exit for Mugabe, who has ruled the country for 37 years and planned to contest the next election in 2018.
"There is a transition of power underway and it has tacit agreement from regional powers," the opposition party source told CNN.
"There are active talks underway to form a transitional government and that transitional government will need to include the opposition."

It was unclear what role Tsvangirai would play in that administration. He served as prime minister under a power-sharing deal with Mugabe after a disputed election in 2008, but Mugabe regained full control in 2013 amid further allegations of election fraud.
Key to any transitional administration will be Emmerson Mnangagwa, the powerful former Vice President, who was widely tipped to become the country's next leader. Mnangagwa was dismissed by Mugabe last week, in a decision that triggered the latest political turmoil.
His dismissal fueled speculation that Mugabe was clearing the way for his wife, Grace, to take over the presidency in the event of his retirement or death.
Mnangagwa remains one of the most powerful figures in the country and derives much of his support from the military. He has not been sighted in Harare since he was fired and his whereabouts are still unknown.

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