Robert Mugabe in detention after military takes control of Zimbabwe
Harare: Robert Mugabe remains under detention at his home in Zimbabwe more than 12 hours after the military declared on national television that it had temporarily taken control of the country to "target criminals" around the head of state.
The move by the armed forces appears to have resolved a bitter battle to succeed the 93-year-old president, which had pitted his former vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, against his wife, Grace Mugabe.
Mnangagwa was reported to have returned to Zimbabwe on Tuesday evening from South Africa, where he fled after being stripped of his office by Mugabe last week in an apparent attempt to clear Grace Mugabe's path to power.
There were unconfirmed reports that Grace was in Namibia on
Wednesday on business, as a dramatic and at times confusing series of events that began on Tuesday when military convoys were seen driving through the capital took
The military takeover comes two days after the army chief – flanked by other senior officers – warned that he was prepared to "step in" to end turmoil in the ruling Zanu-PF party.
It is likely to signal the departure from power of the world's oldest leader within days, weeks or at most months.
One high-profile opposition leader said there was "a lot of talking going on" with the army "reaching out" to them to discuss the formation of a transitional government after Mugabe steps down.
Negotiations had been ongoing for several months with "certain people within the army", a second senior opposition official said.
The official said that Mugabe would resign later this week and be replaced by Mnangagwa, with opposition leaders taking posts as vice-president and prime minister. There was no independent confirmation of his claim.
Zimbabwe's fragmented opposition has not publicly condemned the military move.
Nelson Chamisa, the deputy head of the opposition MDC party, called for "peace, constitutionalism, democratisation, the rule of law and the sanctity of human life".
Tendai Biti, an opposition leader, called for a "roadmap back to legitimacy".
"What is key is that a traditional authority is set up which is inclusive with the opposition and the ruling party ... We need a dialogue too with [regional organisations], the African Union and the United Nations. We can't solve this problem on our own," Biti said.