Friday, 17 November 2017

Mugabe Makes First Public Appearance Since Overthrow


President Robert Mugabe attended a university graduation ceremony on Friday, making his first public appearance since military generals took control of Zimbabwe earlier this week.
The 93-year-old President Mugabe has refused to resign, sources said, after soldiers this week put him under house arrest in a stunning turnaround for the veteran leader who has ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist since 1980.
In a defiant display of his refusal, the aging leader arrived at the ceremony in the capital Harare dressed in a blue academic gown and hat, an AFP photographer reported.
Zimbabwe's former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose sacking last week triggered the military's takeover, has returned to the country, an aide told AFP on Friday.
The generals took over late on Tuesday after Mnangagwa was sacked by the president and Mugabe's wife, Grace, emerged in prime position to succeed her increasingly frail husband.

The military was strongly opposed to Grace's rise, while Mnangagwa has maintained close ties to the defence establishment.
Mnangagwa, who is a leading candidate to succeed to Mugabe, flew back to Harare on Thursday after nearly a week abroad, as army chiefs and the president met to negotiate Mugabe's exit from office.
Mugabe's motorcade on Thursday took him from his private residence to the State House for the talks, which were also attended by envoys from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional bloc.
"He is refusing to step down. I think he is trying to buy time," said a source close to the army leadership who declined to be named.
Government TV showed Mugabe, the world's oldest head of state, dressed in a navy blue blazer and grey trousers standing alongside army chief General Constantino Chiwenga.
Zimbabwe was left stunned by this week's military intervention which came after Mugabe's advanced age sparked the bitter succession battle between Grace and Mnangagwa.

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