Category Archives: World

Zimbabwe’s Mugabe faces looming resignation deadline

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Zimbabwe’s embattled President Robert Mugabe is facing a deadline set by his own party to resign, after a surprise speech in which he refused to quit.

Zanu-PF, which has stripped Mr Mugabe of the party’s leadership, says it back impeachment if he does not step down by 12:00 local time (10:00 GMT) on Monday.

Proceedings could begin as soon as Tuesday when parliament meets.

Mr Mugabe’s grip on power has weakened since the army intervened on Wednesday, in a row over who should succeed him.

The crisis began two weeks ago when the 93-year-old leader sacked his deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, angering army commanders who saw it as an attempt to position his wife Grace as next president.

Zimbabwe has since then seen huge street rallies, with demonstrators, including the country’s influential war veterans, demanding his immediate resignation.

War veterans leader Chris Mutsvangwa said on Monday that he would go to court in an attempt to legalise the military action against Mr Mugabe, and called for more protests against the leader’s intention to cling to power.

“We want to see his back now,” Mr Mutsvangwa said. “Mugabe, your rule is over. The emperor has no clothes. Thank you very much.”

What did Mugabe say in his speech?

During the 20-minute address, the president, who was flanked by generals, made no mention of the pressure from his party and the public to quit.

Instead, he declared that the military had done nothing wrong by seizing power and placing him under house arrest.

“Whatever the pros and cons of how they [the army] went about their operation, I, as commander-in-chief, do acknowledge their concerns,” he said, in reference to the army’s move last week to take over the state broadcaster in the capital Harare.

He also said “the [Zanu-PF] party congress is due in a few weeks and I will preside over its processes”.

Before Mr Mugabe’s speech, Mr Mnangagwa was named as Zanu-PF’s new leader and candidate for the 2018 general elections, while Mr Mugabe’s wife was expelled.

So what happens next?

After Mr Mugabe’s speech, Zanu-PF chief whip Lovemore Matuke was quoted as saying that the resignation ultimatum was unchanged.

He added that impeachment proceedings could be launched on Tuesday in parliament. This would require a two-thirds majority in both chambers.

The opposition MDC-T party has tried unsuccessfully to impeach Mr Mugabe in the past, but this time the ruling party – which has an overwhelming majority in both houses – is likely to go against him.

However, the impeachment process could take weeks.

The BBC’s Africa Editor, Fergal Keane, said his understanding of the situation was that Mr Mugabe had agreed to resign, but then changed his mind.

Our correspondent says the generals have no intention of forcing Mr Mugabe out by the barrel of a gun, and are happy to let the Zanu-PF carry out its procedures, working through impeachment if necessary.

It is unclear how Robert Mugabe can preside over Zanu-PF’s congress next month, following his dismissal as party leader.

Party positions are officially decided at the congress and Mr Mnangagwa may take over leading the country then.

Mr Mnangagwa, a former state security chief, is nicknamed “the crocodile” for his perceived shrewdness. He fled Zimbabwe after his sacking a fortnight ago, but has since reportedly returned.

What’s the reaction been?

The War Veterans Association, which used to back Mr Mugabe, now says it is time for him to step down.

“Thirty-seven years, you have had your time, you are toast now politically,” association head Chris Mutsvangwa told the BBC.

“Please give the country a chance, let it move to the next page.”

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said he was “baffled” by the president’s address.

“He’s playing a game. He has let the whole nation down,” he told Reuters news agency.

Mr Mugabe has led the country since it gained independence from Britain in 1980.

Source: BBC

Defiant Mugabe vows to stay on

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Robert Mugabe defied expectations by not resigning on Sunday night

Zimbabwe’s embattled leader Robert Mugabe has vowed to stay in power for several weeks, despite intensifying pressure on him to stand down.

In a live TV address, Mr Mugabe said he would preside over the ruling party’s congress in December.

The Zanu-PF earlier sacked him as party leader, and gave him less than 24 hours to resign as president or be impeached.

His grip on power has weakened since the military intervened last week in a row over who should succeed him.

A crisis was triggered after Mr Mugabe sacked his deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, two weeks ago, angering the army who saw it as an attempt to move his wife, Grace, into the position of his successor.

Earlier on Sunday, Mr Mnangagwa was named as Zanu-PF’s new leader and candidate for the 2018 general elections.

At the same party meeting, Mr Mugabe’s 52-year-old wife, Grace, was expelled from the party, alongside a number of other senior officials.

“The (ruling Zanu-PF) party congress is due in a few weeks and I will preside over its processes,” President Mugabe told the nation on Sunday.

He also acknowledged criticism against him from the Zanu-Pf, the military and public, but did not mention the possibility of resigning.

It is not entirely clear how Robert Mugabe can preside over Zanu-PF’s congress next month, following his dismissal as party leader.

Party positions are officially decided at the congress and Emmerson Mnangagwa may officially take over leading the country then.

Source: BBC

Ruling party sacks Mugabe as leader

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Zimbabwe’s ruling party has sacked Robert Mugabe as its leader, as pressure intensifies for him to step down as president.

Zanu-PF appointed ex-Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was fired by Mr Mugabe two weeks ago, in his place.

The party has given Mr Mugabe, 93, until 10:00 GMT on Monday to resign as president, or face impeachment.

The military intervened last week, in an apparent attempt to block him from installing his wife as his successor.

The first lady, Grace Mugabe, and several other senior officials have been expelled from the party altogether.

Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans attended street protests on Saturday, demonstrating against the Mugabes.

Mr Mugabe has also been meeting military leaders on Sunday, according to Zimbabwe’s The Herald.

While no details of the talks have been released, photos posted by the state-run newspaper show the two sides – which also met several days ago – shaking hands.

Mr Mugabe is said to be seeking more time to negotiate his exit after nearly four decades in power.

Cheering erupted when the decision to dismiss Mr Mugabe as party leader was announced in Harare on Sunday.

One senior official later told the BBC’s Andrew Harding: “It’s the dawn of a new era. Mugabe can go farming.”

Zanu-PF’s central committee also warned that impeachment proceedings would begin if Mr Mugabe did not step down as president by noon local time on Monday.

Impeaching the president would require a two-thirds majority in both houses of Zimbabwe’s parliament, which is due to resume on Tuesday.

The opposition MDC-T party has tried unsuccessfully to impeach Mr Mugabe in the past, but this time the ruling party – which has an overwhelming majority in both houses – is likely to go against him.

President Mugabe and Grace Mugabe on 24 May 2014

President Mugabe’s wife, Grace, had emerged as a leading candidate to succeed her husband photo: AFP

Zimbabwe Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa listens as President Robert Mugabe (not pictured) delivers his state of the nation address to the country

But Mr Mnangagwa has re-emerged as front runner after his dismissal two weeks ago photo: REUTERS

Mr Mnangagwa, who has since reportedly returned to Zimbabwe, has also been nominated as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2018 general elections.

Nicknamed “the crocodile” for his perceived shrewdness, Mr Mnangagwa is a former state security chief who is now widely expected to lead an interim post-Mugabe government.

His sacking prompted an extraordinary chain of events over the past week:

  • Mr Mnangagwa fled the country after his dismissal as Mr Mugabe’s deputy two weeks ago
  • The army’s chief of staff, Gen Constantino Chiwenga, warned last Monday that the military might intervene to stop purges in the party – and was roundly criticised by allies of the Mugabes
  • On Wednesday, soldiers seized the headquarters of the national broadcaster
  • Mr Mugabe has been mostly under house arrest for several days
  • On Saturday, unprecedented mass protests further weakened Mr Mugabe’s position

Speaking ahead of the party meeting, the head of the influential War Veterans Association, Chris Mutsvangwa, threatened to “bring back the crowds and they will do their business” if Mr Mugabe did not step down.

Mr Mugabe has been leader of Zimbabwe for 37 years, having led the country since it gained independence from Britain in 1980.

He has made just one public appearance since events unfolded, speaking at a university graduation ceremony on Friday.

Zimbabweans rallied to celebrate the army’s takeover of the country

 Source: BBC

Mugabe to meet with army chief on his future

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Mr Mugabe (second right) under house arrest, posing alongside Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantino Chiwenga (right)

File: Mr Mugabe (second right) under house arrest, posing alongside Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantino Chiwenga (right) photo: AFP / ZBC

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe is to meet army chiefs amid intense pressure for him to step down.

Mediation will be led by a Catholic priest, state TV said. Mr Mugabe has largely been confined to his house since the army took over on Wednesday.

The governing Zanu-PF party is also meeting to discuss whether to dismiss their founder and long-term leader.

The army intervened after Mr Mugabe, 93, fired his deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mr Mnangagwa’s dismissal made Mr Mugabe’s wife Grace front runner to become next president. He is likely to be reinstated as vice-president when Zanu-PF convene.

Mr Mugabe has led Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980.

Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans took to the streets on Saturday to celebrate the army’s takeover and to urge Mr Mugabe to quit.

They tore pictures of Mr Mugabe and marched to his office and residence.

The military says it will advise the public on the outcome of talks “as soon as possible”.

Protesters holding placards applaud and chant slogans at a rally in Harare to demand the resignation Robert Mugabe, 18 November.

A cross-section of society took to the streets to press Mr Mugabe to go photo: AFP

Sit-in outside State House

Protesters marched to State House, Mr Mugabe’s official residence, as well as to his private home

Nine of 10 Zanu-PF party chapters say Mr Mugabe should step down and their decision is likely to be endorsed at Sunday’s meeting of the party’s top body, the central committee.

The BBC’s Andrew Harding in Harare says this is a watershed moment and there can be no return to power for Mr Mugabe.

Our correspondent says the situation appears to be getting out of Zanu-PF’s control and there could be a broad push to introduce a transitional government that includes the opposition.


Negotiating Mugabe’s exit

Analysis by Anne Soy, BBC News, Harare

It is understood that President Mugabe has so far insisted that he cannot step down and so legitimise a coup.

The military maintains this is not a coup and there is international pressure to use constitutional means to resolve the political crisis. Negotiators are poring through Zimbabwe’s laws to find a legal way out.

Saturday’s call for civilians to take to the streets looks choreographed to lend some legitimacy to the transition process being discussed.

President Mugabe’s support base has continued to crumble. Independence war veterans, who fought alongside him against colonial rule, have also called on their former leader to leave.

But the biggest blow yet to Mr Mugabe could be delivered by the central committee of his ruling Zanu-PF on Sunday. Their meeting could see Robert Mugabe dismissed as party leader.


How did we get here?

Soldiers seized the headquarters of Zimbabwe’s national broadcaster ZBC on Wednesday.

An army official, Maj Gen Sibusiso Moyo, then read out a statement on national television, assuring the nation that President Mugabe and his family were safe.

The military was only targeting what he called “criminals” around the president, he said, denying that there had been a coup.

On Friday, Mr Mugabe made his first public appearance since being put under house arrest, speaking at a university.

Grace Mugabe was not present. It had been thought she had left the country but it emerged on Thursday that she was at home with Mr Mugabe.

Source: BBC

Zimbabwean editor assesed: Mugabe is down; apprehension in Zimbabwe

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The military takeover in Zimbabwe is currently creating a great apprehension in that country.

According to the Editor of Newsday newspaper in Zimbabwe, Wisdom Mdzungairi, many of his compatriots do not understand what is going on currently.

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe made his first public appearance on Friday since the country’s army took over on Wednesday after a power struggle over his successor.

He attended a university graduation ceremony in the capital, Harare.

President Mugabe on Thursday met Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander General Constantino Guveya Chiwenga at State House in Harare.

The meeting, attended by South African envoys comprising Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and State Security Minister Bongani Bongo, was also attended by Roman Catholic cleric Father Fidelis Mukonori, Zimbabwean Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi, State Security Minister Kembo Mohadi, Air Vice Marshal Elson Moyo, Permanent Secretary for Information, Media and Broadcasting Services George Charamba, among others.

The Editor of Newsday newspaper based in Zimbabwe told Onua FM’s Ghana Dadwene on Friday that “people are apprehensive at the moment. They don’t understand what is happening at the moment and there is this total apprehension”.

Wisdom Mdzungairi said President Mugabe did not speak at the university’s graduation he attended on Friday but the general looks on the president shows he was not happy.

“He is down at the moment. You could see the man is wired down because of what is happening around him”.

When asked whether President Mugabe’s wife was with him at the graduation, Mr. Mdzungairi noted, “the wife was not part of the entourage because the wife is part of the cabals the military wants to clean. She is part of the perceived criminals that are surrounding the president”.

By Kweku Antwi-Otoo|Onua 95.1FM|3news.com|Ghana

Jesse Jackson has remained an activist in later life

Jesse Jackson diagnosed with Parkinson’s

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Jesse Jackson has remained an activist in later life

Jesse Jackson has remained an activist in later life photo: Reuters

US civil rights activist Jesse Jackson has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

“My family and I began to notice changes about three years ago,” Mr Jackson, aged 76, wrote in a statement.

“After a battery of tests, my physicians identified the issue as Parkinson’s disease, a disease that bested my father.”

Parkinson’s is an incurable neurological disease that can cause tremors and affect coordination.

“Recognition of the effects of this disease on me has been painful, and I have been slow to grasp the gravity of it,” Mr Jackson said.

He said the diagnosis was “not a stop sign but rather a signal that I must make lifestyle changes and dedicate myself to physical therapy in hopes of slowing the disease’s progression”.

Mr Jackson fought for civil rights alongside Martin Luther King Jr in the 1960s. He was twice a candidate for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, in 1984 and 1988, and his son Jesse Jr is a former US congressman.

He has remained an activist into later life, and spoke up last year in the wake of a spate of police shootings of black men, saying they were just one expression of a “mean-spirited division” taking hold of the country.

About 60,000 new Parkinson’s diagnoses are made every year in the US, where the disease affects an estimated one million people.

“I am far from alone,” Mr Jackson said.

“God continues to give me new opportunities to serve. This diagnosis is personal but it is more than that. It is an opportunity for me to use my voice to help in finding a cure for a disease that afflicts seven to 10 million worldwide.”

Source: BBC

Mugabe EVADES house arrest to attend university graduation

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Mugabe at the Zimbabwe Open University today

The Zimbabwe coup has taken a bizarre turn after ousted leader Robert Mugabe, believed to be under house arrest, made a shock public appearance at a university graduation ceremony.

The unusual appearance is currently taking place at Zimbabwe Open University, where Robert Mugabe is Chancellor.

Mugabe has been ordered to resign or face impeachment but this dire ultimatum has not stopped him visiting the university to congratulate graduates today.

A red carpet has been laid out at the ceremony, with security present to protect the 93-year-old.

Wearing a blue and yellow academic gown and mortar board hat, Mugabe sat in large wooden chair at the front the hall. He was greeted by cheers from the crowd as he declared the ceremony open.

Reuters news agency’s southern Africa-based report Macharia James confirmed the appearance on Twitter.

He said: “Mugabe has just arrived to preside at a university graduation ceremony in Harare, his first public appearance since military takeover in Zimbabwe.

“Very strange coup this one.”

Another Twitter user said: “What kind of coup has the ‘deposed’ President attending a graduation ceremony 72 hours after said coup?”

Leaders of Mugabe’s party are making plans to force him from office if he resists pressure from the army to quit, a senior party source said on Friday.

The only leader Zimbabwe has known since independence in 1980 insists he is still in charge. But senior members of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party made clear the party wanted him gone.

One source said: “If he becomes stubborn, we will arrange for him to be fired on Sunday. When that is done, it’s impeachment on Tuesday.”

Zimbabwe’s official newspaper, the Herald, ran photographs late last night that showed a grinning Mugabe shaking hands with military chief General Constantino Chiwenga, who seized power this week.

These images suggested Mugabe was managing to hold out against General Chiwenga’s coup, with some political sources saying he was trying to delay his departure until elections scheduled for next year.

However the source within ZANU-PF said this was not the case. Anxious to avoid a protracted stalemate, party leaders were drawing up plans to dismiss Mugabe at the weekend if he refused to quit.

The source said: “There is no going back. It’s like a match delayed by heavy rain, with the home side leading 90-0 in the 89th minute.”

Mugabe is also facing pressure from other African leaders, including the president of Botswana.

Ian Khama said: “I don’t think anyone should be President for that amount of time. We are Presidents, we are not monarchs. It’s just common sense.”

He said the military intervention resented “an opportunity to put Zimbabwe on a path to peace and prosperity”.

Source express.co.uk

Mr Mugabe (second right) under house arrest, posing alongside Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantino Chiwenga (right)

Mugabe ‘resisting calls to stand down’

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Mr Mugabe (second right) under house arrest, posing alongside Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantino Chiwenga (right)

Mr Mugabe (second right) under house arrest, posing alongside Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantino Chiwenga (right) photo: AFP / ZBC

Zimbabwe’s long-time President Robert Mugabe is reportedly refusing to step down immediately, despite growing calls for his resignation.

The 93-year-old was put under house arrest during a military takeover on Wednesday, amid a power struggle over who would succeed him.

The military said on Friday it was “engaging” with Mr Mugabe.

It also said it had been arresting “criminals” around the president, but gave no names.

Several senior officials are said to have been detained since Wednesday.

“Others are still at large,” the military said.

In a televised statement, the military said it would advise the nation on the outcome of talks with Mr Mugabe “as soon as possible”.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said it was “in the interests of the people” that Mr Mugabe “resign… immediately”.

The army moved in after Mr Mugabe last week sacked Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, signalling that he favoured his wife Grace Mugabe to take over his Zanu-PF party and thus the presidency.

The BBC’s Andrew Harding, in Zimbabwe, says that if President Mugabe can be persuaded to step down officially it could help legitimise the military’s dramatic intervention.

On the streets, it is hard to find anyone who wants Mr Mugabe to stay on, our correspondent adds, but negotiating the manner of his departure and some sort of transitional agreement to follow could take some time.

So what’s going on in Harare now?

It is very unclear.

Photos in the Zimbabwe Herald earlier showed Mr Mugabe meeting army chief Gen Constantino Chiwenga and the two envoys from the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) at State House in Harare.

Alongside them was Father Fidelis Mukonori, a Roman Catholic priest known to Mr Mugabe for years, who has been brought in to mediate.

Sources close to the talks say Mr Mugabe – who has been in control of Zimbabwe since it threw off white minority rule in 1980 – is refusing to stand down voluntarily before next year’s planned elections.

“I think he is trying to buy time,” one source close to the army leadership told the AFP news agency.

Some observers suggest that Mr Mugabe may be trying to seek guarantees of safety for himself and his family before stepping aside.

Zanu-PF officials had earlier suggested Mr Mugabe could remain nominally in power until the party congress in December, when Mr Mnangagwa would be formally installed as party and national leader.

Mr Mugabe in the meeting at State House in Harare

Mr Mugabe met officials at State House in Harare photo: ZIMBABWE HERALD

What is the view among Zimbabweans?

By Anne Soy in Zimbabwe

Many Zimbabweans almost instantly warmed to the military’s move to take control of the country, and confine President Mugabe to his official residence.

“The military has done a good thing,” says one bookseller. “They will ensure we get a transitional government.”

He is firmly convinced that Mr Mugabe’s 37-year rule is coming to an end.

There has been a sudden change of tone in the country, and the sense is that many Zimbabweans have been yearning for change.

Any change, it seems, would do.

What do South Africa and the region want?

South Africa is hosting millions of Zimbabweans who fled after the country’s economy crashed in 2008. It has a special interest in seeing stability restored.

South African Defence Minister Nosiviwe Maphisa-Nqakula and State Security Minister Bongani Bongo are the envoys meeting Mr Mugabe on behalf of Sadc, which South Africa currently leads.

Robert Mugabe: From war hero to president of Zimbabwe

Sadc also held a meeting in neighbouring Botswana and called for a regional summit to discuss the crisis. They urged Zimbabwe to “settle the political challenges through peaceful means,” the AFP news agency reports.

The African Union said it would not accept a military seizure of power. AU head and Guinea President Alpha Condé said he was “inviting the army to return to its barracks and return to constitutional order”.

And Zimbabwe’s opposition?

Mr Tsvangirai, head of the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T) party and the main opposition leader in Zimbabwe, said Mr Mugabe’s immediate resignation must be part of a “negotiated all-inclusive transitional mechanism”.

He said this should lead to “comprehensive reforms for free and fair elections to be held” – views echoed by another opposition leader Tendai Biti.

Andrew Harding: “There’s a feeling people want to celebrate”

What’s happened to Grace Mugabe?

Early reports suggested Mrs Mugabe had fled to Namibia, but sources now say she is in the family compound in Harare, along with some of the youth wing of Zanu-PF who had backed her.

On Wednesday, one of her key allies Kudzai Chipanga, made a televised apology for criticising the head of the army as a war of words raged prior to the military takeover.

Mr Chipanga is thought to be in army custody but insisted his statement was voluntary. Other senior members of the youth wing have also reportedly been detained.

How did the military takeover come about?

In the early hours of Wednesday, Zimbabwe’s military took over the headquarters of national broadcaster ZBC and issued a statement saying they were targeting “criminals” around President Mugabe.

Troops and armoured vehicles encircled parliament and other key buildings throughout the day.

On Monday, Gen Chiwenga had warned the army would intervene to end what he called the “purging” of Zanu-PF members “with a liberation background”, referring to the country’s struggle for independence.

Mr Mnangagwa is one such veteran of the 1970s war which led to independence.

Source: BBC

Rawlings runs to Mugabe’s rescue

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President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe

President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe

Ghana’s former President, Jerry John Rawlings has mounted strong defence in protection of Robert Mugabe’s “unassailable” pride and dignity.

As at Thursday afternoon, Mr. Mugabe who is the President of Zimbabwe, has been under house arrest in what has been described as a bloodless coup the military staged on Wednesday.

The bad blood between Mugabe’s government and the army reached crescendo when the Zimbabwean leader sacked his vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who appeared to be the army’s favourite to succeed the 93 year old leader.

President Mugabe has been in control of Zimbabwe since it gained independence from Britain in 1980.

The military said it stepped in ostensibly targeting people close to President Robert Mugabe for causing “social and economic suffering”

Reports from Zimbabwe suggest uneasy calm although businesses are running smoothly.

But Ghana’s former president, who once worked closely with Mr. Mugabe and attended the same secondary school in Ghana, wants Mugabe’s legacy protected.

“As unavoidable as the Zimbabwe situation may be, let us hope that the transition occurs without destroying Mugabe’s legacy and dignity unduly,” he prayed.

In a short statement to the media, Mr. Rawlings who ruled Ghana for almost two decades said Mugabe’s “African pride, dignity and audacity were unassailable.”

In his view, President Mugabe “served and lived for the dignity of his fellow black in a manner that so many of us fell very short of”.

By Isaac Essel | 3news.com| Ghana

Zimbabwe on edge over army’s next move

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Zimbabweans are waiting to see what steps the military will take next after seizing control of the country.

President Robert Mugabe is said to be under house arrest but the whereabouts of his wife Grace, who was bidding to succeed him as president, are unknown.

South African ministers have been in the capital Harare meeting the army and political parties.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional bloc will hold emergency talks on Thursday.

President Mugabe, 93, has been in control of Zimbabwe since it gained independence from Britain in 1980.

But the power struggle over who might succeed him, between Mrs Mugabe and her rival former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa, has split the ruling Zanu-PF party in recent months.

Evidence that Grace Mugabe’s circle was being pressured by the military came on Wednesday when one of her key allies, Zanu-PF youth wing leader Kudzai Chipanga, made a televised apology for criticising the head of the army a day earlier.

Mr Chipanga is reported to be in army custody but said his statement was voluntary.

Correspondents are asking whether President Mugabe, having hung on to power so tenaciously for years, will offer his resignation.

One Zimbabwean opposition leader, Tendai Biti, told the BBC he wanted to see a transitional authority in place.

“It is urgent that we go back to democracy. It is urgent that we go back to legitimacy but we need a transitional period and I think, I hope, that dialogue can now be opened between the army and Zimbabweans. [That] dialogue can be opened between the army and regional bodies such as the SADC and, indeed, the African Union,” he said.

The SADC has called an emergency meeting in Gaborone, Botswana for 15:00 local time (13:00 GMT).

Presentational grey line

Will President Mugabe play along?

By Andrew Harding, BBC Southern Africa correspondent

No-one is exactly celebrating here – too much remains unknown. But shops and businesses are working and Zimbabwe is quietly adapting to the stunning fact that President Robert Mugabe is still under house arrest, and that no-one is coming to rescue him.

Instead, those now in control here – soldiers and civilians – are trying to convince the world that there wasn’t really a military coup at all. More of a forceful reshuffle.

But to win that argument, they need Mr Mugabe to play along.

So the key question now is whether the 93-year-old can be persuaded to make some sort of statement, legitimising the upheavals of the past two days, in return for, what? A peaceful retirement, the safety of his wife and family? Zimbabwe’s drama is still unfolding.

Presentational grey line

There have been no reports of unrest in Zimbabwe. Correspondents say many people have accepted that President Mugabe is being eased from office. Streets in Harare are said to be quieter than usual but people are going about their business.

On Wednesday, troops and armoured vehicles encircled parliament and other key buildings.

Hours earlier, soldiers took over the headquarters of national broadcaster ZBC and issued a statement saying that the military was targeting “criminals” around President Mugabe.

A man walks past an armoured personnel carrier in Harare on November 15, 2017

The military insists it has not staged a coup Photo: GETTY IMAGES

On national TV, Maj Gen Sibusiso Moyo denied there had been a coup, saying: “This is not a military takeover of government.”

He said Mr Mugabe and his family were “safe and sound and their security is guaranteed”.

“As soon as we have accomplished our mission we expect that the situation will return to normalcy,” he added.

But despite the reassurances, key regional bloc the African Union said the takeover of power and the detention of President Mugabe “seemed like a coup”.

On Wednesday the office of South African President Jacob Zuma said he had spoken by phone to Mr Mugabe who had indicated “he was confined to his home but said that he was fine”.

Mr Mnangagwa was removed from the vice-presidency earlier this month following a call for his dismissal from Mrs Mugabe.

Tensions were raised further on Monday when army chief Gen Constantino Chiwenga said the army was prepared to act to end purges within Zanu-PF.

Gen Chiwenga is a close ally of Mr Mnangagwa and both are veterans of the 1970s war which ended white minority rule.

Source: BBC