As of Friday evening, protest calls to force the 93-year-old president to stand down had gathered pace.
The Zimbabwean military had on Wednesday seized control of the southern African nation, placing long-time leader, Mugabe, under house arrest and deploying armoured vehicles on the streets of Harare.
The army had denied a military takeover in a state broadcast, saying they were only targeting criminals around the President.
In a later broadcast on the Zimbabwe State Television on Friday, the military leaders said they were engaging with Mugabe to discuss the way forward.
The military also disclosed it had arrested about a dozen senior officials who were “criminals causing the suffering in the country.”
Meanwhile, perhaps to prove that the 93-year-old President had not been stripped of power, Mugabe emerged out of house arrest on Friday morning, appearing at a graduation ceremony at the Zimbabwe Open University in Harare.
Clad in blue and yellow academic robes and a mortar board hat, it was said it would be one of the rare occasions the leader’s wife would not accompany him to an outing.
However, as the military takeover enters its fourth day, members of the war veterans association, an influential voice in national politics, had said Mugabe must step down at once. They urged the people to come en masse on Saturday (today) and protest against the veteran leader.
According to News24, the leader of the war veterans, Chris Mutsvangwa, said on Friday that the president would not be allowed to remain in power.
He said, “Between now and tomorrow, we are giving a very stark warning to Mugabe, his wife and anyone who wants to be associated with him that the game is up – finished.
“We are appealing to all Zimbabweans to come tomorrow (Saturday) for the biggest, largest turnout by the Zimbabwean population so we finish the job the army has started.”
The protest, which was already gathering momentum as of Friday evening, was billed to start from the Freedom Square, Harare by 10 am.
Expressing support for the protest, the main opposition party in the country, the Movement for Democratic Change, also said the military takeover “resonated with the national public sentiments and hence irreversible in effect and fact.”
A former minister and liberation war veteran, Dumiso Dabengwa, said he congratulated the Zimbabwean military on “the initiative they took to block the rise” of Grace (Mugabe).
Similarly, Botswana President, Ian Khama, said on Friday that Mugabe should end his attempts to remain in office after the military takeover, as he has no regional diplomatic support to stay in power.
“The military intervention presents 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 length of time. We are presidents, we are not monarchs. It’s just common sense.”
Meanwhile, by late Friday afternoon, all 10 of the country’s provincial Zanu-PF branches had passed motions of no confidence in the president.
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