Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe has been seen arriving at a university graduation ceremony this morning in his first public appearance in two days.
The 93-year-old leader, who has been holding direct talks with the country’s army, is reportedly refusing to step down amid growing calls for his resignation following a military coup on Wednesday.
— harumutasa/aljazeera (@harumutasa) November 17, 2017
The army said it would advise the public on the outcome of talks “as soon as possible”.
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However, a senior member of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party told Reuters that Mugabe’s time is limited:
If he becomes stubborn, we will arrange for him to be fired on Sunday. When that is done, it’s impeachment on Tuesday.
One source close to the army leadership told the AFP news agency:
I think he [Mugabe] is trying to buy time.
What’s happened so far?
Almost two weeks ago, Mugabe sacked his vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, accusing him of plotting against the presidency.
While Mugabe wanted his wife Grace to succeed him if he decided to resign, that now seems unlikely.
The military has already put her under house arrest along with around a dozen senior officials and leading members of the G40, a faction of the Zanu-PF party who are loyal to her.
On Wednesday, Zimbabwe’s military took over the headquarters of national broadcaster ZBC and issued a statement saying they were targeting all “criminals” associated with the president.
Throughout the day, soldiers and armoured vehicles encircled parliament and other government buildings.
On Friday the UK embassy changed its advise to UK citizens in Zimbabwe, saying that while they could leaving the house taking “sensible precautions” including avoiding political activity and not taking pictures of soldiers on the streets were still necessary.