Zimbabweans protesting against President Robert Mugabe and calling for a ‘New Zimbabwe’ have converged and were addressed in their numbers, with some now blocked from heading in the direction of Mugabe’s private residence, Blue Roof.
‘This is a great day’: Zimbabweans revel in Mugabe’s ruin
President Robert Mugabe clings to office, the military is in power and the much-feared Zanu-PF party still rules – but Zimbabweans put such issues aside on Saturday to happily embrace what they hope is a new era for the country.
Many protesters welcomed the army’s takeover this week that has brought 93-year-old Mugabe’s previously impregnable reign to the brink of collapse.
“Just look at the crowds here… Finally we can hope to have jobs when I finish university,” Tafadzwa Musarurwa, a 22-year-old social studies student at the University of Zimbabwe, who marched in the central business district, told AFP.
As a carnival atmosphere spread through the city, demonstrators swigged from beer bottles and danced in the road demanding that Mugabe accept defeat and step down.
Zuma says Zimbabwe situation is in ‘early days’
South African President Jacob Zuma two days ago said Zimbabwe’s political situation “very shortly will be becoming clear.” Now Zuma says the situation is in “early days”.
Zuma says he’s cautiously optimistic it will be “resolved amicably” as Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe resists stepping aside.
Zuma spoke with Mugabe under military house arrest earlier this week and sent Cabinet ministers to negotiate on Mugabe’s departure. He calls those talks “fruitful” but gives no details.
Zuma also says South Africa’s government supports “the people of Zimbabwe during this difficult period”. He reiterates the African Union’s stance against “unconstitutional changes in government”.
Zimbabweans are rallying outside their consulate in South Africa in solidarity with thousands marching in their capital against long-time President Robert Mugabe.
SADC to discuss Zimbabwe next week Tuesday
Zimbabwe’s political situation is set to be discussed on Tuesday when four countries with the southern African regional bloc meet in Angola.
The Southern African Development Community summit will include the heads of state of South Africa, which has sent Cabinet members to negotiate with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on a departure.
Also attending are the heads of state of Angola, Tanzania and Zambia.
Mugabe is under military house arrest after he fired his longtime deputy and appeared to position his wife to succeed him. He is said to be resisting efforts to step aside.
Zimbabwe media call country ‘free and liberated’
Zimbabwe’s state-run broadcaster is calling the country “free and liberated” as the bulk of the capital’s population seems to be streaming toward the official residence of longtime President Robert Mugabe in a call for him to leave.
The broadcaster is showing previously unthinkable footage of speeches at a rally where speakers declare that “This is the new Zimbabwe”.
Mugabe is said to be resisting calls to step down even as he remains under military house arrest.
One speaker at the rally is expressing popular anger at first lady Grace Mugabe, whose apparent attempts to succeed her husband were a factor in the military’s move.
“You and your husband should go today and not tomorrow,” the speaker says.
Zim military urges marchers to be orderly, warns against ‘agent provocateurs’
Zimbabwe’s military is urging the thousands upon thousands of people streaming through the capital to be orderly and “vigilant against agent provocateurs” who might wish to discredit the push to get longtime President Robert Mugabe to step aside.
The new statement read out on state-run television comes as much of Harare’s population appears to be marching toward Mugabe’s official residence, the State House. Mugabe lives in a mansion elsewhere in the city, however, and is under house arrest.
The military thanks the marchers and says its “operation” to arrest some top officials close to Mugabe and his wife continues.
Zimbabwe army stops crowd marching on Mugabe’s official home
Zimbabwe soldiers blocked thousands of protesters as they tried to march on embattled President Robert Mugabe’s official residence in Harare on Saturday, an AFP correspondent on the scene said.
The demonstrators, participating in nationwide protests calling for the 93-year-old veteran leader to step aside after the army took power earlier this week, staged a sit-down protest in the road after being halted by the troops.
The crowd got within 200 metres of the gates to the complex that has been the nerve centre of Mugabe’s authoritarian rule, as large protests swept through the capital.
“This is not fair. Why are the soldiers preventing us to march to State House?” Rutendo Maisiri, an unemployed 26-year-old woman said. “It is wrong. We will stay put.”