AS IT HAPPENED: Zimbabwe military supports anti-Mugabe rally

2017-11-17 15:09

Zimbabwe's military says in a new statement it supports a rally called for Saturday in the capital that will urge President Robert Mugabe to step aside.

ALSO READ: AS IT HAPPENED: Mnangagwa 'helped map post-Mugabe #Zimbabwe' - report

ALSO READ: AS IT HAPPENED: Mugabe: the last of Africa's 'fathers of independence'

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Last Updated at 11:10
17 Nov 21:22

Zimbabwe military supports anti-Mugabe rally

Zimbabwe's military says in a new statement it supports a rally called for Saturday in the capital that will urge President Robert Mugabe to step aside.

The statement read out on state-run television also says the military's operation "remains solid" and Zimbabweans are urged to remain patient.

The military is pursuing talks with Mugabe on the "way forward" while arresting some top allies of him and his wife.

- AP


17 Nov 19:50

Zimbabwe ruling party branches want Mugabe out

A UK-based official with Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party says all 10 of the party's provincial branches are calling for the removal of President Robert Mugabe.

Nick Mangwana says on Twitter that the branches have agreed to direct the party's Central Committee to recall Mugabe as party leader.


17 Nov 19:47

Zim stock exchange loses further ground amid anxiety and hope

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange lost further ground on Friday as investors speculated on chances that bank balances, which have been losing value against real US dollars for the better part of the year, could strengthen in the wake of a potential new dispensation in the country’s political arena. 

For much of 2017 Zimbabweans have been piling into stocks in an effort to hedge against falling bank balances against real US dollar notes.


17 Nov 19:45

CHARTS: How the Mugabe economy highlights challenges for Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s economy has fallen to the 20th biggest in sub-Saharan Africa from 10th when President Robert Mugabe came into power almost four decades ago.


17 Nov 18:49

Press Statement by MDC Alliance

The Principals of the MDC Alliance met today, 17th of November 2017 in Harare and considered the current situation in the country and resolved as follows:

1.Noted the Military intervention against President Mugabe and his government and considered such action to resonate with the national public sentiments and hence irreversible in effect and fact.

2.Commended the military for respecting the sanctity of the lives of all Zimbabweans and appealed to them to continue to ensure that nothing is done which may result in loss of life.

3.Appealed to the authorities currently in charge of the country to respect the constitutional rights of all Zimbabweans.

4.Appealed to SADC, the AU and the UN to assist the people of Zimbabwe in ensuring that there is a peaceful and irreversible transition to democratic people centred rule.

5.That there must be an all inclusive transitional mechanism with a mandate to:

•Return and restore the country to constitutionality and constitutionalism

•Ensure economic stabilisation to bring to an end the current economic and social suffering of the people.

•Adopt and implement democratisation measures and electoral reforms leading to free and fair elections within the shortest possible time and resulting in the birth of a legitimate government with the full and unconditional support of the people.

___________________________________

Morgan R. Tsvangirai

MDC ALLIANCE PRESIDENT


17 Nov 17:56

17 Nov 17:45

Fired Zimbabwe VP won't return until Mugabe out

High-level supporters of the Zimbabwe vice president whose firing led the military to step in say reports of Emmerson Mnangagwa's return to the country are false.

The supporters say Mnangagwa, who is expected to lead any new government, will return to Zimbabwe only after processes to remove President Robert Mugabe are complete.

They say he doesn't want his presence to be destabilising.They hope a rally on Saturday in the capital, Harare, in support of the military's move will increase pressure on Mugabe to step aside.

They say that if that fails, the impeachment of Mugabe would be the next step when Parliament resumes Tuesday.The supporters spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media about the matter.

- AP


17 Nov 17:27

US says people of Zimbabwe must choose own government

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called of Friday for a return to civilian rule in Zimbabwe, saying the country has a chance to put itself on a "new path" amid signs longtime authoritarian President Robert Mugabe will be forced from power in a bloodless coup.

"We all should work together for a quick return to civilian rule in that country in accordance with their constitution," Tillerson told a gathering of African foreign ministers and diplomats at the State Department.

He said it is imperative that Zimbabwe hold free and fair elections.

Mugabe has won previous elections that have been found by observers to have been deeply flawed."Zimbabwe has an opportunity to set itself on a new path: one that must include democratic elections and respect for human rights," Tillerson said.

"Ultimately the people of Zimbabwe must choose their government. In our conversations today, we have an opportunity to discuss concrete ways that we can help them through this transition."

His comments came as the 93-year-old Mugabe made his first public appearance since the military put him under house arrest earlier this week.

The military has announced "significant progress" on talks for his departure and arrested some of his allies. Branches of his ruling party, meanwhile, began to pass no-confidence votes in the world's oldest head of state who has been in office for 37 years.

Despite his arrest, Zimbabwe's military took pains to show respect for the 93-year-old leader by referring to him as the president and the commander in chief.

The Trump administration has taken a largely hands-off approach to Zimbabwe in contrast to the three previous US administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

All three actively sought to isolate Mugabe and his ruling clique for increasing human rights abuses, hoping to encourage a democratic transition. Since Trump moved into the White House in January, however, Washington has been virtually silent on the matter.

Tillerson's comments on Friday appear to be only the second time he has mentioned the country in a public setting.

The first was a three-sentence written statement released by the State Department on the anniversary of Zimbabwe's independence day in April.

All five of his immediate predecessors as secretary of state — Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry — delivered speeches in which they had denounced Mugabe's consolidation of power through violent suppression of dissident voices, other rights abuses and the controversial seizures of white-owned land.

UN envoy Nikki Haley mentioned Zimbabwe and Mugabe in a June speech but her critique was focused excoriating the UN Human Rights Council for failing to address despotic regimes in general.

- AFP


17 Nov 17:09

US calls for return to civilian government in Zimbabwe

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is calling for a return to civilian rule in Zimbabwe and says the country has a chance to put itself on a "new path" amid signs longtime authoritarian President Robert Mugabe will be forced from power after 37 years in a bloodless coup.

Speaking at a meeting of African foreign ministers at the State Department on Friday, Tillerson said that whoever replaces Mugabe at the helm must respect democracy and human rights.

He said the choice of leadership is solely the choice of the Zimbabwean people.His comments came as the 93-year-old Mugabe made his first public appearance since the military put him under house arrest this week.

The military has announced "significant progress" on talks for his departure and arrested some of his allies.

- AP


17 Nov 17:00

Zimbabwe military take-over: What next for Mugabe?

Zimbabwe was facing an uncertain future Friday after President Robert Mugabe made a defiant public appearance and the army said negotiations with the 93-year-old head of state were continuing.

AFP asked Anthoni van Nieuwkerk, a politics professor at Wits University in Johannesburg, to analyse the unfolding crisis:

How is Mugabe still in office?

"He is under house arrest but the military allows him to step out from time to time in an attempt to show the world that the law and order are being maintained in Zimbabwe," said Van Nieuwkerk.

What is being negotiated?

"There is an attempt now to develop a process for an inclusive government to take over from the military so that within a few months, or a year, the path can be paved for a new election," he said.

"The pre-condition for the inclusive government is that Robert Mugabe must resign as the head of state. The problem with this scenario is that he is refusing to do that."

What caused the takeover?

"It is a palace revolution where one section of the ruling ZANU-PF party is using elements of the military, but not all of the security services - the police for example - to bring change within the ruling party."

Grace Mugabe was trying to get rid of her opponents, who were using aspects of the military to get rid of Grace.

"So it is a limited military intervention with political purposes. The coup is against G-40," he added, referring to the faction of young ZANU-PF figures seen as loyal to Grace.

Who will the army hand control to?

"The calculation that the military is making is 'let's treat him with dignity and respect as we search for the way forward'. That is why he made the appearance at the university."

The best option is to be as inclusive as possible.

The problem with opposition politicians in Zimbabwe is that they are pretty weak - and the most prominent, Morgan Tsvangirai, is ill."

"I don't think he has the stamina to lead, which means that the Zimbabweans should probably search for somebody like Tendai Biti to represent the political opposition," he said referring to the respected former finance minister during the coalition government after the 2008 elections.

What about 'The Crocodile'?

Former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa "wants to become the president - nothing less - and he might get it."He might lead the interim arrangement and he might stand as the candidate for the ruling party in the coming election next year or the year.

"He is not an angel, he is not a democrat by definition. He is a very old politician. He has blood on his hands, but that means he has significant pockets of support inside the military and inside the ruling party."

- AFP


17 Nov 16:28

SAA closely monitoring Zim situation

South African Airways (SAA) has confirmed that its flight operating schedule to the country has not been disrupted by the current political climate in Zimbabwe.  

This follows a week of political tension as Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has been placed under house arrest, with Mugabe refusing to accept calls for him to step down.


17 Nov 16:23

17 Nov 16:16

17 Nov 15:45

Mugabe makes defiant appearance after army takeover

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe attended a university graduation ceremony Friday, making a first public appearance since the military takeover that appeared to signal the end of his 37-year reign.

Despite his show of defiance, pressure mounted on the 93-year-old leader to quit as veterans of Zimbabwe's independence war - key players in the country's power structure - called for mass anti-Mugabe demonstrations on Saturday.

Mugabe, 93, had been confined to house arrest after the military took over the country.

But on Friday, he walked into the ceremony venue in Harare dressed in a blue academic gown and tasselled hat, before listening to speeches with his eyes closed and applauding occasionally, an AFP correspondent reported.

The generals took over late on Tuesday after vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa was abruptly sacked and Mugabe's wife Grace emerged in prime position to succeed her increasingly frail husband.

Mnangagwa, who had fled abroad after his firing, returned to the country on Thursday and seems poised to play a central role in shaping developments. 

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980 and many citizens were stunned by the military's intervention, which was sparked by the bitter succession battle between Grace and Mnangagwa.

"I'm happy with what the army has done, at least now we've got a future for our kids," Teslin Khumbula, the owner of a security company, told AFP.

"We don't want Mugabe anymore... Please -- everyone go to the streets."

Analysts say the military leadership was strongly opposed to the rise of Mugabe's ambitious 52-year-old wife, while Mnangagwa has close ties to the defence establishment.

'Finish the job'

Mugabe and the army chiefs held talks on Thursday, but no official statement was issued on the status of negotiations that could see him eased out of office.

Government television showed Mugabe, the world's oldest head of state, at the talks smiling alongside army chief General Constantino Chiwenga.

Chris Mutsvangwa, chairman of the independence war veterans' association which is seen as supporting Mnangagwa, said Friday that "the game is up" for Mugabe and called for a protests against the president.

"It's done, it's finished... The generals have done a fantastic job," he said at a press conference in Harare as he called for a mass demonstration on Saturday.

"We want to restore our pride and tomorrow is the day... we can finish the job which the army started."

Veterans of Zimbabwe's independence war were loyal supporters of Mugabe, but they turned against him as friction grew between the president and the military.

Mnangagwa, 75, fled to South Africa following his dismissal and published a scathing rebuke of Mugabe's leadership and Grace's presidential ambitions.

The military said Friday they had detained some "criminals" in Mugabe's government in a reference to supporters of Grace's presidential ambitions.

Grace has not been seen since the takeover of the military, which has not overtly called for President Mugabe's resignation.

International concern

Morgan Tsvangirai, a former prime minister and long-time opponent of Mugabe, has said Mugabe must resign "in the interest of the people", added that "a transitional mechanism" would be needed to ensure peace.

Harare's residents have largely ignored the few soldiers still on the streets with shops, businesses and offices operating as usual.

Eldred Masunungure, a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, said the formation of a "pre-election coalition" could be a viable response to the crisis.The international community has been watching the crisis closely.

In Paris, the head of the African Union, Guinea's President Alpha Conde, warned Thursday that the continent "will never accept the military coup d'etat" in Zimbabweand called for a return to the "constitutional order".

"(Problems) need to be resolved politically by the ZANU-PF party and not with an intervention by the army," added Conde.

Meeting in Botswana, the SADC called for an emergency regional summit to help resolve the crisis, urging Zimbabwe to "settle the political challenges through peaceful means".

Britain, Zimbabwe's former colonial ruler, said elections scheduled for 2018 should go ahead.

In Ivory Coast, President Alassane Ouattara on Friday saluted Mugabe's role in the fight against colonialism, saying he "has been the object of respect and even adulation from many Africans and young Africans."

"But the world has changed," he said.

"Clearly, given his age and the long time he has spent in office, everyone is aware that it is time for him to hand over his seat to a new generation."

- AFP


17 Nov 15:36

17 Nov 15:10

17 Nov 15:09

17 Nov 15:09

'If Mugabe becomes stubborn, we'll arrange for him to be fired Sunday,' says Zanu-PF official

Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party is reportedly gearing up to recall its long-time leader Robert Mugabe from office if the nonagenarian resists pressure from the army to quit.


17 Nov 15:09
Zimbabweans are desperate for change

17 Nov 15:09

Calls for anti-Mugabe street protests on Saturday

The leader of Zimbabwe's war veterans association, an influential voice in national politics, on Friday said President Robert Mugabe must step down at once and urged people to protest against the veteran leader.

Christopher Mutsvangwa told a press conference the "game was up" for Mugabe and his wife Grace.He called for a huge turnout at street protests planned for Saturday in Harare.

"The generals have done a fantastic job. It's done, it's finished," he said.

"We want to restore our pride and tomorrow is the day... we can finish the job which the army started."

There's no going back about Mugabe. He must leave.

"Veterans of Zimbabwe's independence war were loyal supporters of Mugabe, but they turned against him as friction grew between the president and the military.

Mugabe attended a university graduation ceremony on Friday, making a defiant first public appearance since the military takeover that appeared to signal the end of his 37-year reign.

The generals took over late on Tuesday after vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa was abruptly sacked and Mugabe's wife Grace emerged in prime position to succeed her increasingly frail husband.

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