The currently political situation in Zimbabwe may take longer to return to normalcy than what the military announced when the seized power few days ago as long-time President Robert Mugabe is reportedly refusing to step down immediately, despite growing calls for his resignation.
According to a Reuters report, Mugabe is refusing to step down as demanded by the military saying he remain Zimbabwe’s only legitimate ruler.
The agency says Mugabe is resisting mediation by a Catholic priest Fidelis Mukonori, who is acting as a middle-man between Mugabe and the generals.
BBC also reports that 93-year-old, who was put under house arrest during a military takeover on Wednesday, amid a power struggle over who would succeed him has so far refused to agree to move aside.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said earlier it was “in the interests of the people” that Mugabe “resign, stetp down immediately”.
Mugabe, still seen by many Africans as a liberation hero, is reviled in the West as a despot whose disastrous handling of the economy and willingness to resort to violence to maintain power destroyed one of Africa’s most promising states.
Zimbabwean intelligence reports seen by Reuters suggest that former security chief Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was ousted as vice-president this month, has been mapping out a post-Mugabe vision with the military and opposition for more than a year.
Fuelling speculation that that plan might be rolling into action, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who has been receiving cancer treatment in Britain and South Africa, returned to Harare late on Wednesday, his spokesman said.
South Africa said Mugabe had told President Jacob Zuma by telephone on Wednesday that he was confined to his home but was otherwise fine and the military said it was keeping him and his family, including wife Grace, safe.
Despite the lingering admiration for Mugabe, there is little public affection for 52-year-old Grace, a former government typist who started having an affair with Mugabe in the early 1990s as his first wife, Sally, was dying of kidney disease.
Dubbed “DisGrace” or “Gucci Grace” on account of her reputed love of shopping, she enjoyed a meteoric rise through the ranks of Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF in the last two years, culminating in Mnangagwa’s removal a week ago – a move seen as clearing the way for her to succeed her husband.
In contrast to the high political drama unfolding behind closed doors, the streets of the capital remained calm, with people going about their daily business, albeit under the watch of soldiers on armored vehicles at strategic locations.