Zimbabwe’s ousted deputy president Emmerson Mnangagwa asked President Robert Mugabe to respect public opinion and step down and said he would only return home when his security was assured.
“The people of Zimbabwe have spoken with one voice and it is my appeal to President Mugabe that he should take heed of this clarion call by the people of Zimbabwe to resign, so that the country can move forward and preserve his legacy,” Mnangagwa said in a statement
Earlier, the Army Chief said that ousted Zimbabwean vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa is in contact with President Robert Mugabe and will return home soon.
“The security services are encouraged by new developments which include contact between the president and the former vice president comrade Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa who is expected in the country shortly,” army chief general Constantino Chiwenga said on television.
“Thereafter the nation will be advised of the outcome of talks between the two.”
“The Zimbabwean defence and security services further urge Zimbabweans to remain calm and patient” while a “solution and road map is found for the country,” he added.
Chiwenga’s statement comes after Mugabe stunned the nation on Sunday and did not mention resigning during a long and rambling speech during which he was flanked by the generals who seized power from him a week earlier.
Many Zimbabweans had thought that Mnangagwa, who is believed to have fled to South Africa after being sacked by Mugabe on November 6 — triggering the current crisis – was already back in the country.
Last Friday, a senior aide who declined to be named said Mnangagwa had returned to Zimbabwe a day earlier, after spending nearly a week abroad.
It was exactly a week ago that Chiwenga delivered a statement flanked by top military brass in which he warned he would intervene if Mugabe purged any other top leaders like Mnangagwa. It was apparently the climax of a long-running battle between Mnangagwa and First Lady Grace Mugabe to be the frontrunner to replace the ailing 93-year-old president.