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General Chiwenga, Mugabe Discussing Way Forward for Zimbabwe Strongman

FILE - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, right, talks to General Constantine Chiwenga upon his arrival at Harare International Airport, July 4, 2008.

Zimbabwe’s Defence Forces say they are currently engaging President Robert Mugabe on the way forward after staging a coup and seizing all critical state institutions on Wednesday.

According to the state-controlled Herald newspaper, which like other public media entities appear to be under the direct control of the military, ZDF is expected to advise the nation about the outcome of the discussions with the beleaguered Zimbabwean strongman as soon as possible.

The newspaper quoted the ZDF as saying all defence attaches accredited to Zimbabwe have been informed on the current situation in the southern African nation.

The military also told the newspaper that they have so far arrested so-called criminals surrounding President Mugabe, noting that some of them are still at large.

No specific names were released about those that have been arrested though indications are that they are members of a faction of the ruling Zanu PF party known as Generation 40 or G40, which wanted First Lady Grace Mugabe to succeed Mugabe.

Authoritative sources say Higher Education Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo, Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo and Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere are being detained by the army.

The other faction, Team Lacoste, is believed to be led by former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was sacked by Mugabe and left the country vowing to return to get rid of the president.

Mnangagwa is believed to have strong military links. General Chiwenga claims that the purging of members of Team Lacoste had plunged Zimbabwe into a political and economic crisis.

Unconfirmed reports say the 93 year old Zimbabwean leader has been forced by the military to step down.

Mr. Mugabe, who is under house arrest, has asked his long-time religious mentor Father Fidelis Mukonori of the Roman Catholic Church to accompany him in discussions with General Chiwenga and other securocrats.

Zimbabweans are anxiously waiting for the outcome of these discussions with some calling on the military to hand over power to a civilian transitional government.

Some opposition leaders, including Morgan Tsvangirai and former Vice President Joice Mujuru have dissociated themselves from reports that they will be drafted by the military into a transitional government to be allegedly led by sacked Vice President Emerson Mnangagwa and former ZIPRA military intelligence supremo Dumiso Dabengwa.

Dabengwa and Mnangagwa were not reachable for comment.

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