Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe should end his attempts to remain in office after the military seized power this week as he has no regional diplomatic support to stay in power, Botswana President Ian Khama said on Friday.
The military intervention, which political sources say could pave the way to a national unity government after 37 years of Mugabe rule, also presented “an opportunity to put Zimbabwe on a path to peace and prosperity”, Khama told Reuters.
“I don’t think anyone should be President for that amount of time. We are Presidents, we are not monarchs. It’s just common sense,” Khama said.
Army veterans tell him its time up
Mugabe is said to have pleaded for “a few more days” in power as an influential group of military veterans warned his time was up.
The group’s leader Chris Mutsvangwa, an ally of the recently fired vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa, said they would “settle the scores tomorrow” if Mr Mugabe did not step down.
Zimbabwe remained in political limbo on Friday as the President looked to resist attempts to oust him following this week’s military takeover.
Mr Mutsvangwa said Mr Mugabe had asked for “a few more days, a few more months” amid negotiations with army chiefs over the end of his reign.
He told reporters in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare that “between now and tomorrow” they will warn the President that the game up.
“He has to make a decision today to leave,” he said “If he doesn’t leave, we will settle the scores tomorrow.”
Mutsvangwa is chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, which has close ties with and influence over Mr Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party.
The 93-year-old has insisted he remains in charge but looks almost certain to be forced from office, with his party stating there “is no going back”.
Senior Zanu-PF figures were set to meet on Friday to draft a resolution to dismiss Mugabe and lay the ground for his impeachment if he refuses to stand down.
“If he becomes stubborn, we will arrange for him to be fired on Sunday,” a senior party source said. “When that is done, it’s impeachment on Tuesday.”
Mutsvangwa described President’s appearance at a university graduation ceremony on Friday as a “pretence”.
It was the first time the President had been seen in public since being placed under house arrest.
The war veterans leader said they were “on the same page” with South Africa’s government, which has sent Cabinet ministers to negotiate with Mr Mugabe.
Source: Reuters/Independent UK