Defiant Mugabe refuses to quit *See first photo after coup *The China connection

By Editor on 16/11/2017

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The pictures emerged in state newspaper The Herald this afternoon amid claims the deposed leader was refusing to immediately resign during talks with generals Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.u

The first picture of a seemingly untroubled Robert Mugabe, has emerged, since being placed under house arrest in a military coup - amid claims he is refusing to step down as Zimbabwe's president.

Decked in his usual suit, the 93-year-old could be seen sitting in an arm chair during talks reportedly aimed at forcing him to agree to an 'honorable exit' from his position, according to reports in Mirror Online.

It also shows military chief General Constantino Chiwenga in fatigues as well as Zimbabwean Defence Minister Sydney Sekerayami and South African politicians Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Bongani Bongo, sitting with Catholic priest, Fidelis Mukonori said to be a mediator.

There was still no sign, however, of his wife, Grace, 52, who is said to have been with Mugabe overnight at their £7.5million Blue Roof mansion in Harare.

As the pictures emerged in state newspaper The Herald this afternoon, there were claims the deposed leader was refusing to immediately resign during talks with generals - despite coming under huge pressure.

'They met today. He is refusing to step down. I think he is trying to buy time,' said a source close to the army leadership.  

This afternoon, two military helicopters were seen landing at the State House in Harare amid speculation that Mugabe and senior army officers have moved their talks there. According to unconfirmed reports, senior army generals refused to meet Mugabe at Blue Roof because it is technically not an official residence. It followed reports of a motorcade leaving the mansion earlier today. 

Meanwhile there was speculation today that military chiefs may have asked China for its blessing before launching the coup.   

China's Foreign Ministry has said that the visit to Beijing last week of General Constantino Chiwenga, who appears to have taken control of Zimbabwe, was merely a 'normal military exchange'.

But analysts have suggested that China may have given Chiwenga its tacit blessing to launch the coup, the Daily Telegraph reports. 

 

This is the first picture of Robert Mugabe (back centre) after he was placed under house arrest in a military coup - amid claims he is refusing to step down as Zimbabwe's president. Also in the room, is military chief General Constantino Chiwenga (in fatigues), defence minister Sydney Sekerayami (to Mugabe's left), State Security Minister Kembo Mohadi (red tie) and South African politician Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula (yellow head wear)

Mugabe, during the negotiation

Asked whether Chiwenga briefed Chinese officials on any plans for a military takeover in Zimbabwe, government spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters that the Defence Ministry had handled arrangements for the visit and he was 'not aware of the details.'

'What I can tell you is that his visit was a normal military exchange as agreed by the two countries,' Geng said at a regularly scheduled news conference.

In a November 10 posting on its microblog, the Defence Ministry showed Chiwenga smiling and shaking hands with Chinese Defence Minister, Chang Wanquan at the ministry in central Beijing. A separate photo showed the two seated with their delegations at a conference table.

China has been a resolute supporter of Mugabe despite rising international criticism over his authoritarian rule and human rights violations. Military ties between the sides date from Chinese support for Zimbabwe's armed struggle against white minority rule in the 1970s.

Mugabe and his family also have close ties to the Chinese special administrative region of Hong Kong, where they were involved in a legal case involving a luxury property and his daughter Bona was a university student.

Mugabe's wife Grace was also accused by a photographer of assaulting him during a shopping excursion in the city in 2009. Mugabe left the territory without being charged.

It comes amid suggestions China is attempting to increase its own military influence in Africa. In July, it emerged that Beijing had sent troops to the Horn of Africa to establish its first international base.

Ships were reported to have set sail from the southern city of Zhanjiang, around 260 miles west of Hong Kong for the small African country of Djibouti.

The new base, just four miles from US Camp Lemonnier, was seen as China's first step towards international military power.

The base was established under agreement between China and Djibouti after 'friendly negotiations, and accords with the common interest of the people from both sides,' Chinese state news agency Xinhua said.

As the crisis continued this morning, Namibia moved to deny that Grace Mugabe, had been allowed to enter Namibia as the coup unfolded. 

The country's deputy prime minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, said: 'I have not received any such information - what we have been informed is that the first lady and the family are safe at their home.'

 

Former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa (pictured in January with wife Auxilia), 75, a veteran of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation wars who was sacked by Mugabe earlier this month, has returned from exile. The dismissal left Mugabe's wife Grace, 52, in prime position to succeed her husband as the next president - a succession strongly opposed by senior ranks in the military

Mnangagwa 

This morning, Catholic priest Father Fidelis Mukonori was mediating a potential political exit for Mugabe - but the veteran leader is insisting he can only be removed via a party leadership vote, political and intelligence sources said today. 

Mukonori is said to have known the president since the 1970s and is regarded as 'the spiritual father' of Mugabe, state-media has previously reported. 

Sources suggested that army officials were intending to hammer out a 'roadmap' that would detail an interim administration pending snap elections, thought to be called before the national poll is scheduled next June. 

Zimbabwean intelligence reports seen by Reuters suggest that former security chief Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was ousted as vice-president this month, has been mapping out a post-Mugabe vision with the military and opposition for more than a year.

Fuelling speculation that that plan might be rolling into action, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who has been receiving cancer treatment in Britain and South Africa, returned to Harare late on Wednesday to say Mugabe should 'step down immediately' in the interest of the country.

He indicated that he and his party would be willing to play a role in any transitional government under the leadership of Emmerson 'the Crocodile' Mnangagwa.

The opposition leader praised the military, referring to soldiers as 'our liberation fighters' and adding that 'we appreciate the fact that the military has assured the sanctity of human life'.

A frail-looking Mr Tsvangarai, who had been receiving treatment for cancer in South Africa before flying back to Zimbabwe yesterday, underscored the fact that the army is in control, saying: 'the military are the only ones who can decide whether Mugabe and his wife can receive immunity.'

And he suggested that fresh elections are a foregone conclusion, calling on 'each and every one over the age of 18 to vote when the elections come.' 

The deposed 93-year-old remains holed up in his £7.5million palatial residence, known as the Blue Roof, in the capital Harare as army officials try to persuade him to agree to an 'honorable exit'. There has been uncertainty over the whereabouts of his wife, 'Gucci' Grace Mugabe (right), after Namibia insisted there is 'no truth' in claims that the 52-year-old fled there

Mugabe and wife, Grace

According to CNN, a senior member of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) party, said today that talks talks were underway with military leaders over a possible administration involving the opposition. The source added that this was already a 'done deal'.

Fear dominated the streets of Harare today as residents tried to carry on with their normal lives in the shadow of tanks and armoured cars after the dramatic ousting.

There were unconfirmed reports that people were beaten by soldiers in the early morning after straying too close to tanks. Very few pictures from Harare have been posting on social media because of the danger involved in taking photographs in the street.

Heavily armed troops continued to hold strategic positions in the centre of the city, blocking access to streets where government buildings were located and keeping a close watch on passers-by.

Last night, while Mr Mugabe was locked in negotiations with senior army figures, citizens stayed indoors and few people dared venture out, turning Harare into a ghost town.

Fast food outlets like Chicken Inn closed their doors and people who habitually sleep outside banks to be first in line to withdraw cash in the morning were nowhere to be seen.

As the sun rose, however, stunned residents tried to carry on as normal. Queues started to build up outside banks with people jostling for position and arguing as tensions simmered.

Tourists and foreigners have been noticeably absent from the streets all day, with most following advice from embassies including the UK and US to stay indoors.

A motorcade was seen leaving the Blue Roof mansion where Mugabe has been locked in negotiations with military figures, at about midday but no details were released about its occupants.  

The army has been at pains to describe the takeover as a 'democratic correction' but other officials branded it a coup. 

'This is a coup. They have taken over those guys, and it is not reversible,' one unnamed senior diplomat told a local paper. 

He added: 'Officially no one has called it a coup yet, even the generals themselves are not calling it a coup, but that is what it is... [Mugabe] is no longer in charge; he is basically under house arrest.'

It is understood that options for the coming months include Mr Mugabe stepping down immediately, opening the way for Emmerson 'Crocodile' Mnangagwa to assume power at least until the next elections, or for a transitional authority to be set up to lead the country until a new leadership is elected.

A diplomatic source told local media: 'The military still has residual respect for Mugabe. They don't want to stampede him out of power. They are looking for an honourable exit.'

The secretary of the youth wing of Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party issued a dramatic apology on national television at midnight yesterday asking for forgiveness after his previous vociferous support for Mr Mugabe.

On Wednesday, the secretary had publicly called for Mr Mnangagwa to account for $15billion worth of diamonds which Mugabe said went missing last year.

Jacob Zuma, the chair of the Southern African Development Community, sent defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and state security minister Bongani Bongo to assist the tense negotiations, local media reported.

The Zimbabwe Defense Forces is expected to address the nation on television later today to offer an update on the current situation.

The US Embassy issued another statement this morning condemning the current situation and urging the army to abide by the constitution.

The African Union issued a statement yesterday urging the army to enact a peaceful transition.




 

 

Source Mail Online

Posted on November, 16 2017

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