Crunch talks planned to negotiate Mugabe exit

 

November 19, 2017

 

Army soldiers stand guard as protesters demanding President Robert Mugabe stands down gather on the road leading to State House in Harare, Zimbabwe Saturday CREDIT: BEN CURTIS/AP

 

By Agence France-Presse

 

Zimbabwean army generals will pile further pressure on President Robert Mugabe to resign Sunday after tens of thousands of overjoyed protesters celebrated the apparent end of his 37-year regime.

Mugabe’s hold on power was broken this week when the military took over in a dispute over who would succeed the 93-year-old president, the world’s oldest head of state.

Mugabe remains in office but now faces overwhelming opposition from the generals, much of the Zimbabwean public and from within ZANU-PF, the once loyal party now calling for his exit.

“President Robert Mugabe will meet the command element of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces tomorrow,” state television announced on Saturday.

Thousands gather to celebrate the potential end of Mugabe

The two sides first met for talks on Thursday, smiling in photographs that attempted to present a dignified image of the tense process of negotiating Mugabe’s departure.

In scenes of public euphoria not seen since independence in 1980, huge crowds marched and sang their way through Harare and other cities on Saturday, demanding the end of Mugabe’s authoritarian rule.

The marches came after a historic week in which the military seized power and put Mugabe under house arrest in response to his sacking of vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, a perceived rival of Mugabe’s powerful 52-year-old wife Grace who had increasingly voiced her ambition to succeed her spouse.

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