The recently removed President, Robert
Mugabe, is insisting that he remains Zimbabwe’s only legitimate Ruler,
an Intelligence source said, on Thursday.
“I still remain the President of Zimbabwe”, Mugabe was quoted to have said.
The source added that Mugabe is
resisting mediation by a Catholic Priest, to allow the 93-year-old
former guerrilla, a graceful exit after a Military coup.
The Priest, Fidelis Mukonori, is acting
as a middle-man between Mugabe and the Generals who seized power on
Wednesday, in a targeted operation against “criminals” in his entourage,
a senior political source told Reuters.
The source could not provide details of
the talks, which appear to be aimed at a smooth and bloodless transition
after the departure of Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since her
independence in 1980.
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 nations.
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.
Fueling 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.
Morgan revealed that Mugabe had told
President Jacob Zuma of South Africa 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 his wife, Grace, safe.
In spite of 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 cancer.
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 businesses, albeit under the watch
of Soldiers on armoured vehicles at strategic locations.
Whatever the final outcome, the events
could signal a once-in-a-generation change for the former British
colony, a regional breadbasket reduced to destitution by economic
policies Mugabe’s critics have long blamed on him.