Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has agreed to meet with the vice president he fired, the Commander of the Armed Forces, General Chiwenga, announced Monday at a press conference.
“The Zimbabwe Defence and Security Services are encouraged by new developments which include contact between the president and former Vice President, Comrade Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa who is expected in the country shortly,” said Chiwenga, adding the two are expected to hold talks.
Mnangagwa, whose whereabouts have been a subject of speculation since his abrupt dismissal by President Mugabe, has not been seen in public.
The Zanu-PF Central Committee on Sunday resolved to make Mnangagwa the party’s interim-president, first secretary and presidential nominee for the 2018 election, after stripping President Mugabe of all the above titles. Mnangagwa is expected to be endorsed during the party’s Extra Ordinary Congress scheduled for Dec. 12th – 17th.
Continuing with the claim that the military had not staged a coup and that President Mugabe was still running the country, General Chiwenga offered that they had met with Mr. Mugabe under an “atmosphere of mutual respect.”
Referring to Mugabe as president and Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces, Chiwenga said President Mugabe was already acting on promises to address concerns raised by the generals and citizens over the economy, saying that he “has started processes toward a definitive solution and road map for country.”
General Chiwenga echoed Mr. Mugabe’s acknowledgement and appreciation of the peaceful demonstrations staged by citizens Saturday, calling on President Mugabe to step down.
Chiwenga assured Zimbabweans that as Defense and Security Services, their role was to maintain peace and order during what he called the “execution of Operation Restore Legacy.”
“We remain a people’s force and security services which is why upper most on our mind is the conclusion of this operation with the minimum inconvenience and certainly without any collateral loss of life, injury or destruction of property.”
Mr. Mugabe defied his party’s orders on Sunday to step down within 24 hours following a Central Committee meeting in Harare, which withdrew him from the post of president and secretary of the party.
Instead of responding to these demands, Mr. Mugabe told the nation that all was well and acknowledged that there were issues that needed to be addressed in the country currently facing serious economic decline.
The ruling party is expected to start his impeachment process Tuesday.