Mugabe, Chiwenga in cliffhanger talks

Zimbabwe’s long-time leader President Robert Mugabe yesterday reportedly agreed in principle to step down after 37 years in power, although details of his exit conditions were still a closed-guarded secret at the time of going to print last night.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Military and security sources said Mugabe, after delicate marathon meetings at State House, reportedly agreed to step down, bringing to an end one of the world’s most controversial administrations.

“He has agreed in principle to step down. Details of his exit package are being worked out,” a source said. “He will go into exile in South Africa tomorrow (today).”

Mugabe took power after the first all-race elections in 1980 and then set out to entrench his rule marked by both social development initially and a slide into authoritarian rule towards the end.

The beleagured Mugabe and Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander General Constantino Chiwenga ended their make-or-break talks last night amid reports that the 93-year-old Zanu PF leader indicated that he would officially step down at the ruling party’s extraordinary congress next month to allow for the selection of his successor.

This came as the Sadc Troika meeting in Botswana also agreed yesterday to call an emergency Sadc Summit to discuss Zimbabwe’s worsening political crisis.

Mugabe, effectively “under house arrest” following Wednesday’s dramatic intervention by the military, was reportedly demanding unconditional immunity for him and his family while the military wanted First Lady Grace tried for usurping executive authority from her ageing husband. “He is digging in, he wants protection for his wife, but her actions are the reasons for the military action. Initially, he wanted to use (Local Government minister) Saviour Kasukuwere and (Higher Education minister) Jonathan Moyo to bargain, but that has since been cracked. It’s dicey, but a solution has to be found or the situation could degenerate into something that was unexpected,” a top security source said.

Another source said Mugabe initially wanted the army “to return to the barracks” and stop interfering in civilian matters.

With public opinion in Harare indicating tacit approval of Mugabe’s removal, although with a tinge of uncertainty over what the future holds, South African President Jacob Zuma in his capacity as Sadc chairperson despatched a team of two envoys who flew into Harare on Wednesday and began the painstaking work of bringing the protagonists to the negotiating table.

Zuma’s Defence and Military Veterans minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Intelligence minister Bongani Bongo assisted by South Africa’s ambassador to Harare Mphakama Mbete were co-ordinating the talks to initiate Mugabe’s exit, but the former guerilla leader was reportedly digging in, claiming he would only step down after losing an election.

“Mugabe had initially demanded that the talks be held at his Borrowdale home, but the military leaders refused arguing that was a private home,” a source said.


An official at the South African embassy in Harare said details of the negotiations would only be known after the meeting.
“The ambassador (Mbete) will only be able to comment after the meeting, but the envoys indeed are in Harare,” said the official, dismissing claims the military chiefs had rebuffed Zuma’s efforts at mediation.

Mugabe’s situation seemed to be complicated by tacit international approval of his ouster with Zuma yesterday telling his country’s National Council of Provinces that: “It is too early to take a decision on Zimbabwe. From here, I will be going to Botswana for the Sadc Troika meeting and I should get a full briefing on the issue. The Zimbabwe Defence Forces are correcting the situation in that country.”

On Wednesday, the Foreign Affairs ministry even in the absence of minister Walter Mzembi called all envoys accredited to Harare for meetings.

In an official communication seen by NewsDay, the ministry said: “Please note that Foreign Affairs has called for the following meetings: Sadc ambassadors 2:30pm, African ambassadors 3:30 and all ambassadors 4:30.”

It was not clear who addressed the meetings, but suspicion was it could have been Defence secretary Martin Rushwaya and other senior army officials.

Also heavily involved in the negotiations were Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba and Roman Catholic cleric Father Fidelis Mukonori.

“They are acting as midwives and have been shuttling between the two camps,” said a top government source who declined to be named for security reasons.

Mugabe only relented mid-morning yesterday and was allowed for the first time in nearly two days to leave his private home under military guard to the meeting venue.

His normally extraordinarily long motorcade looked severely depleted with only two police cars, his official limousine, four other support executive cars, three Land Cruisers, an ambulance and just three motorbikes.

There were apparently no sirens as is the norm as images emerged with two helicopters hovering above.

Insiders said two senior military generals accompanied Chiwenga. The nation remained in suspense yesterday as Mugabe and his former comrades heckled for an exit strategy that could bring to an abrupt end his near four-decade rule.

After 37 years in power, Mugabe was early this week pushed out as chaos rocked his Zanu PF party in a nasty internal power struggle for his succession that threatened to engulf the country. Chiwenga on Monday delivered a statement threatening to “step in” and restore order.

Insiders said Mugabe, following a Cabinet meeting, issued an order for Chiwenga’s arrest late on Tuesday, forcing the military to take the “drastic action”. Then early on Wednesday, Major General Sibusiso Moyo addressed the nation announcing the army had moved in.

38 Comments

  1. Mr. Chiwenga don’t worry even if this goblin refuses to step down leave him under house arrest for as long as you want kachaita give in chete. We, the citizens, we aren’t in a hurry because we have already suffered enough. The goblin must stay away from gvt offices after this cleansing exercise. We don’t want him anymore.

    1. Mr Lungu should urgently go and re-install Mr Robert Mugabe as president. Zim army is very weak. Zambian army is the 10times stronger than Zimbabwe army.

      1. This is the biggest joke I have never heard in many years. actually this is day dreaming at its worst. Let those who dream and say Zimbabwean army is weak let them try it and they will face armagidion with they have never seen before. kkkkk Zambia of all the nations is a complete joke to Zimbabwean army. Let them try today and see what they will face.

        1. In fact, we will take over Zambia.Dont make me angry.

  2. Pop goes the weasel.

  3. Sadc what talks. Where were they during the Short Sleeve and the Long Sleeve. NO RETREAT GENERAL CHIWENGA,till independence

  4. things may not have been as popular as we thought judging by the general response to this drama. no sympathizers at all?

  5. Everyone support the coup so we are surprised when the army says it is not a coup in fact the whole world support the coup which our army is saying is not .So as Zimbabweans we do not care about SADC says thina sizazibonela with our army we will pull our of this nonsense . But army must stop being soft to Mugabe just tell him to peacefully or removed violently . He is delaying we want to clean our country .

  6. Comment…keep on going mr army general we want mnangagwa back,noone is not a siner SAURO become Paul and taveled a lot to preach the gospel of God,,,,mnangagwarw realise his mistake long time ago and was watching the economy in backseat,thats wy they wanted to kil him in Gwanda but God says no,nw its his and tsvangirai time to shape up the economy and way forward

    1. you are so obsessed with Mnangagwa , what good did he do, why not Mujuru why not Sekeramayi…

  7. SADC are a bunch of pathetic losers.
    They do not have the Zimbabwean people at heart. we urge you to leave us alone and keep monitoring as you usually do. Useless bunch….
    You are only trying to prolong our misery. We know that somehow you were benefiting from our suffering but it’s over now so go away and leave us alone.
    Zimbabwe will never need a bungling bunch of idiots as yourselves… Now we are handing our own Shit…Monitor this…

  8. We want MDC to lead Zimbabwe because they have shown zimbabweans how to grow up the economy by adopting the best and worth currency.After the departure of the MDC from government,the zanu pf evil doers led us back into economic turmoil by introducing the zim dollar in the form of bond notes.Please people wake up,why must we keep on suffering because of cruel human beings?

    1. Currency was adopted by Chinamasa not MDC

  9. 32 mins ·

    Mugabe should know that his only excuse is age,otherwise he should be where his aides are.Ko he was sanctioning their day light plunder of public resources.Zvaiida kuita Chiwenga ngaachiizviitwa ari iye,zvakaita Mujuru na ED ngaachizviitwawo ari iye.
    Our serious concern is fixing the economy right now,you can give back Chombo his useless bond notes and adopt the South African Rand.We need true sovereignty,kwete neimwe yekuramba zvinoita kuti the people va enjoye sovereignty yacho.If the economy is fixed,then we can have our own strong currency too.
    May i also advise the heroic General to closely monitor our corrupt useless police.Kunyanya vemu road ava,ava dzingai zvenyu they wont reform,but vari mumaguta vomboendawo kumamisha uko kunoita stock theft cases etc etc.
    Zimbabwe is going to shine again,baba avo hakusisina congress yavari kutaura nezvayo.Vana Mandiita wembanje,Chombo,Jona,Tyson vese na Dr.Amai are not gonna be in attendance.He should stop to waste the General’s time,and the time of all progressive Zimbabweans.
    Lets go to the transition,the whole wide World is on our side,who is not is another dictator and/or dictator in the making/or dictator in waiting.

  10. This is all a very good lesson for the future, even though we all support Mugabe’s removal by whatever means for now but SADC is also teaching the army that they don’t have the absolute power to install or remove leaders as they wish & must respect the constitution, this is a good guarantee for future opposition leaders of the country that their leadership by elections will be respected by all

  11. I see the comments are getting longer now as people have the freedom of speech.

  12. If the military can remove Mugabe then they can remove anyone from the Presidency. Nothing will change in Zimbabwe because the military is the real power and they will continue to suck the country dry. This coup should not be allowed to stand. Free and fair elections to be held next year under the auspices of the UN.

    1. You could be right in the longer term,but right now lets remove the current evil

  13. I want to go and print a t shirt marked ” General Chiwenga the Great” .That’s the least i can do my patriotic General. This is no longer about politics this is about wanting the best for the country and as all we can see people are partying , celebrating , for our redemption has come.God Bless Zimbabwe

  14. The more it takes talking talking talking the the moron Mugabe thugs regroup and we have our country becoming like Somalia . Just remove the man no need to be so soft on him and still calling commander in chief . They are thousands strong reasons why Mugabe must be removed . As for SADC hayi mani they stop mbichana we finish our internal misunderstandings and we do not need their help now we can solve it we are grown ups.

  15. If Mugabe refuses to step down please General Chiwenga don’t beg him. His visit to Singapore is almost due. Also don’t grant visas to his doctors if they intend to come here. Nature will sort him out. If he requests to go, let him leave and bar him from coming back again. Musanetswa nekachikwambo ako nxaaaa

    1. no, ngavasakasiya kachienda. Kanono organiser zvimwe ne NIKUV.Ngaarapirwe pa Parirenyatwa. WHy Singapore.Ngaauye apa patirikurapwa

  16. Thank you General for removing Chihuri and his company from our roads there is free movement of cars these tollgates were a menace.

  17. I think we should all line up and start walking towards SADC states and seek asylum because they are the problem for the last 20 years. Zambia South Africa and Botswana are you ready for 10 million Zimbabweans cause that what you deserve.

  18. POLITICS PROPHETIC

    TSVANGIRAI IGWARA IPAPO NDOPAANOFANIRWA KUITA PRESS STATEMENT TO ALL ZIMBABWEANS TO RALLY AND MARCH TO THE SATTE HOUSE AND DEMAND MUGABE TO STEP DOWN IN SUPPORT OF THE MILITATRY KA HEY THIS TSVANGIRAI

  19. Uhmmmm mdara ngavanzwewo tsitsi Zimbabweans have suffered a lot.if it is said kuty akaiswa namwari then I dont believe in God anymo

  20. No going back, Mugabe and his G40 cronies should be removed and should never ever be seen anywhere near the dustbins of politics. Go Chiwenga, Go, we cant wait for our Independence from this Mugabe regime. No going back please Cde Chiwenga. SADC and AU please stay away, we can handle our own internal politics, you want to prolong our misery and continue to loot Zimbabwean resources with your Old Friend Mugabe. NOOOOOOO, Mugabe must step down, enough is enough

  21. Newsday I hope you now unban me.but let me give senerio 2 If vaMugabe refuses to see since.
    2) The Hague has prepared a docket that needs to be completed by interveiw ing va Mugabe on Murambatsvina and 2008 election and farm killings.They are destined for Zimbabwe right now at the insistence of Britain and France.If they collect va Mugabe to the Hague it will work well for Him as his presidency will be vacant and ZANU must second either Party speaker Mudenda as acting President or anyone of their choice.Via Mugabe is making us his children give him up for humiliation.We don’t have to do this.He can avoid this by resigning now.

  22. All what this moron Mugabe is seeking is to have people killed that is what he enjoys much . Lets all as other pple have suggested here march to state house to remove Mugabe never mind about political parties affiliations MDC ZANU war vets whatever lets lets unite this our country the only one god gave us we not be running away from our country bcoz one person nada manhi hawu .

  23. Commander Guvamatongo

    It seems all Zimbabweans are in agreement that:
    1. There is no violence or chaos in the country
    2. That the action by the military is necessary
    3. There is peace and tranquillity in the country
    4. People want change
    5. The military liberated us from colonial bondage yesterday and they are doing it again today.
    The question is ‘What crisis is SADDC talking about?. Who is the complainant if the people of Zimbabwe are in agreement with the action of their beloved military?
    SADDC please stay away. The people of Zimbabwe do not need YOU.

  24. Everyone is now compromising to having another zanu pf leader as long as its not Mugabe. I thought the idea was to have another leader no affiliated with zanu pf because zanu pf put us here in the first place. Grace and the kids get to walk away with billions, mugabe cleans house. zanu pf now knows the traitors and those just using zanu to make money. they are cleaning house. going back to basics. the original guys who started this from the beginning. all of a sudden all that has been happening for 37 yeras doesnt matter. now talk of dabengwa, mujuru, tsvangira, ngwena GNU, ok but tsvangira isn’t well and will not last 5 years, so its back to ngwena and mujuru ZANU PF born and breed. so what has changed???? Mugabe won. He planned his succession and planned it well…. master manipulator to the last breathe

  25. Charles Charingeno

    What has been happening is quite interesting and progressive. First I learnt one thing that made Zimbabweans suffer for too long like this. Zanu(PF) was a one man show. Democracy had to start from the Party and then into government. This old man created fear in all and sundry in the party and noone was ever brave enough to challenge him. they criminalized challenging him even democratically. Because of ego everyone in the party wanted to be President. Secondly SADC are not serious about us as Zimbabwe and the so called civilian rule, which has never obtained since 2002 anyway! These same Generals asked this old man to stay when he lost elections in 2008. And now we know the motive. But now that aside, we welcome the ZDF’s intervention to sort out things. SADC please leave us alone as you have done in all these years. You are talking about the constitution, which constitution? Did we ever follow it before here? As long as we are peaceful please leave us alone. To those who are coming to lead us please we want progress and visible development. Top priority, improve the road infrastructure and revitalize the industry, create jobs. Show us you can do it better than the old man. We do not mind whether you are ZPF, MDC, ZAPU OR NDA NDE NDI NDO NDU. We just want good and peaceful life. I must thank the ZDF for removing traffic police from the roads. For once we enjoyed true freedom! Dai nyika ikatongwa hayo nemasoja, senani

  26. The General must just poison Mugabe such that looks like natural death. Then we keep Sadc and its desire to preserve constitutionalism at the expense of Zimbabweans. After all Mugabe poisoned Mnangagwa, without success though. Or Chiwenga could reduce Mugabe’s security drastically so that he is exposed to thugs, so that the thugs can do the job them

  27. Now it is clear that all these years under Mugabe’s rule, SADC has been benefiting a lot from our cries and now we say enough is enough. We don’t need SADC because there is no crisis in Zimbabwe. We only have one old horse who wants to travel the whole world using state funds simply because he is in power. THAT SHOULD STOP NOW AND FOREVER. A job well done to our ZDF for protecting your country and its citizens against ruthless leaders. Transitional Gvt the ONLY WAY TO GO… MUGABE MUST RESIGN, HE IS A STUMBLING BLOCK TO DEVELOPMENT.

  28. All people must join the final push tomorrow every body final push our solsiers must protect us from rogue partisan police force . Tomorrow it must be our independence day Mugabe must fall finish and we need to finish off what the army started they set a dummy and surely we can not afford to miss it .

  29. A Piece of Advice General

    Dont leave of give mugabe any space alone or even give him a phone. Mukamupa mukana munopera vakomana. That will be yo end. Make sure he chooses between stepping down and stepping down . He can choose whatever he wants between the two. We are fed up with him. We dont need him.
    We r behind yu guys. Dont give him latitude to dictate things. Good yu refused to talk w him in his house otherwise aingotrigger gas repasofa raanenge akagara mukafenda and that will bve it.

    Musarebesa nyaya naye coz munopedzisira machinjiswa pfungwa. If yu backdown, u r all going to die

  30. kutaura kwamusina kuswera inonzi polltics kkkkkkkk kwaaaaaa vaMugabe woyeeeeee

  31. Zvaari mabiribobi kubhiridha kwamadhonkiz

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