Zimbabwe opposition groups have expressed dismay and frustration at the slow rate of negotiations aimed at persuading President Robert Mugabe to resign, after the military took over the state, on Wednesday.
The frustration has increased with President Mugabe’s presence at the Zimbabwe Open University where he officiated over a graduation ceremony, in his capacity as chancellor of all the country’s universities, just a day after state media released pictures of a smiling President Mugabe with General Constantino Chiwenga who reportedly overthrew him.
According to reports, President Mugabe has refused to step down, saying he is a legitimately elected official.
Opposition leader Jacob Ngarivhume of Transform Zimbabwe said hopes of Mr. Mugabe leaving office are slowly dissipating.
“Mugabe must go. There is no way he should be allowed to continue holding power. If he were to do that, then Zimbabwe would be in trouble. What I see happening is there might be a dragging on the discussion around his departure, but eventually, that must be a position. He must go. He has outlived his usefulness," said Ngarivhume.
Former Prime Minister and leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai, too called for Mr. Mugabe’s departure.
Mr. Tsvangirai formed a government of national unity with President Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party in 2009, after a disputed election.
“Mr. Robert Mugabe must resign, step down immediately in line with the national sentiment and expectation, taking full regard of his legacy and contribution to Zimbabwe, pre and post Zimbabwe,” said Tsvangirai, who returned to Zimbabwe this week from South Africa where he is being treated for cancer.
Former vice president and now leader of the People’s Rainbow Coalition (PRC), Joice Mujuru, was not as vocal against Mr. Mugabe, who fired her in 2014, but indicated a desire to see change. Addressing media at a press conference Wednesday, Mujuru pushed for change.
A former freedom fighter, Mujuru gave silent praise to the military for its actions against Mugabe.
“As PRC, we note the current political developments in our country. We are however heartened by the assurances given during these present political developments that condemn violence and encourages peace.”
Despite opposition calls for Mr. Mugabe’s resignation or forceful removal from office, supporters loyal to Mr. Mugabe say he is still the president and he is not going anywhere.
Nick Mangwana, who is the United Kingdom-based representative for the ruling Zanu-PF party, said, "President Mugabe remains President Mugabe as of now.”
Pressure is mounting on the military to take action within 72 hours of the takeover of the state. The military declared that what happened was not a military coup as they wanted to get rid of so-called thieves surrounding the president.