Zimbabwe’s Mugabe resisting army pressure to quit: senior source

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Soldiers are seen on the armoured vehicle outside the parliament in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 16, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Soldiers are seen on the armoured vehicle outside the parliament in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 16, 2017. REUTERS. 

President Robert Mugabe is insisting he remains Zimbabwe’s only legitimate ruler, an intelligence source said on Thursday, and 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 middleman 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.
Mugabe has been the country’s president since independence in 1980.
The 93-year-old leader is seen by many Africans as a liberation hero, but is criticised in the west as a dictator whose disastrous handling of the country’s economy and willingness to resort to violence to maintain power destroyed the nation.

Zimbabwean intelligence reports 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.

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