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Mugabe Appears in Public For First Time Since Military Intervention

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, center-right, arrives to preside over a student graduation ceremony at Zimbabwe Open University on the outskirts of Harare, Zimbabwe Friday, Nov. 17, 2017. Mugabe is making his first public appearance since the military put him under house arrest earlier this week. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe arrived at a university graduation ceremony in the capital on Friday, his first public appearance since a military seizure of power that political sources say is aimed at ending his 37 years in office.

According to Reuters, wearing a blue and yellow academic gown and mortar board hat, the 93-year-old sat in large wooden chair at the front the hall. He was greeted by ululations from the crowd as he declared the ceremony open.

The president, who has been under house arrest, capped more than 1,000 graduands amid reports that the military is still negotiation for his ouster.

Bishop Paul Verryn of the Johannesburg Methodist Church told VOA Studio 7 that Mr. Mugabe is likely to stay in office until December.

“Apparently, some of my sources indicate that they are wanting Mr. Mugabe to remain in authority until December and then he will retire and handover to another president. I believe that his wife, this is supposed to be one of the deals, will remove herself from the running … I’m not sure how true that is …”

He claimed that President Jacob Zuma’s envoys would ensure a smooth transition.

Bishop Verryn expressed fears that the unfolding political drama in Zimbabwe may lead to the creation of an autocratic state.

Zanu PF is planning to hold an Exra Ordinary Congress in December, which initially was targeted at elevating Mrs. Grace Mugabe to the position of vice president.

Indications are that Zanu PF delegates at the congress will vote for a new president. Sacked Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who allegedly enjoys a lot of military support, is expected to take over from Mr. Mugabe as the next president.

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