Zimbabwe's Mugabe resisting army pressure to quit: Sources
HARARE: President Robert Mugabe is insisting he remains Zimbabwe's only legitimate ruler and balking at mediation by a Catholic priest to allow the 93-year-old former guerrilla a graceful exit after a military coup, sources said on Thursday.
A political source who spoke to senior allies holed up with Mugabe and his family in his lavish "Blue House" Harare compound said Mugabe had no plans to resign voluntarily ahead of elections scheduled next year.
"It's a sort of stand-off, a stalemate," the source said. "They are insisting the president must finish his term."
The army's takeover signalled the collapse in less than 36 hours of the security, intelligence and patronage networks that sustained him through 37 years in power and built him into the "Grand Old Man" of African politics.
The priest, Fidelis Mukonori, who has been mediating between Mugabe and the generals who seized power on Wednesday in a targeted operation against "criminals" in his entourage, had also made little headway, a senior political source told Reuters.
The army appears to want Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, to go quietly and allow a smooth and bloodless transition to former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Still seen by many Africans as a liberation hero, Mugabe is reviled in the West as a despot whose disastrous handling of the economy and willingness to resort to violence to maintain power pauperised one of Africa's most promising states.
A fighter, both literally and figuratively during a political career that included several assassination attempts, Mugabe now appears to have reached the end of the road.
With the army against him and the police — once seen as a bastion of support — showing no signs of resistance, force is not an option. Similarly, his support inside the ruling party is crumbling and on the streets of the capital he is loathed.
Zimbabwean intelligence reports seen by Reuters suggest his exit has been in the planning for more than a year.
Mnangagwa, a former security chief and life-long Mugabe confidant known as "The Crocodile" who was axed as vice-president earlier this month, is the key player.
Mugabe, wife, top allies holed up in 'Blue House' compound
JOHANNESBURG: Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, his wife Grace and two key figures from her G40 political faction are under house arrest at Mugabe's "Blue House" compound in Harare and are insisting the 93-year-old finishes his presidential term, a source said.
The G40 figures are cabinet ministers Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere, who fled to the compound after their homes were attacked by troops in Tuesday night's coup, the source, who said he had spoken to people inside the compound, said. South Africa said Mugabe had told President Jacob Zuma by telephone on Wednesday that he was confined to his home but was otherwise fine and the military said it was keeping him and his family, including wife Grace, safe.
Despite lingering admiration for Mugabe among older African leaders, there is little public affection for 52-year-old Grace, a former government typist who started having an affair with Mugabe in the early 1990s as his first wife, Sally, was dying of kidney failure.