In Brief

Zimbabwe coup: Robert Mugabe ‘quits’ after military takeover

Confusion reigns as Zimbabwe’s political future remains unclear

Robert Mugabe has reportedly agreed to step down as President of Zimbabwe, following a military takeover in the capital Harare.

Troops seized control of state television station, ZBC, arrested several ministers and said they were acting against “criminals” surrounding the 93-year-old head of state.

Mugabe has since “negotiated with the country’s military for his wife Grace to leave the country and obtain ‘safe haven’, possibly in neighbouring South Africa, in return for him giving up power”, the African News Agency reports, citing a security source.

The source confirmed that soldiers “have the President and his presidential guard under siege” and said Mugabe would announce the handover of power at a press conference later today.

“The main goal of the generals appeared to be preventing Mugabe’s wife Grace,41 years his junior, from succeeding him,” Reuters reports.

However, some reports suggest that she has already fled to neighbouring Namibia. Namibian officials have not confirmed that she is there.

Zimbabwe remains “on a knife edge”, says Reuters, with military vehicles and personnel continuing to occupy strategic positions throughout the capital. But shops and businesses are open and many Zimbabweans are going about their business.

“No matter what happens, this appears to be a watershed moment for Zimbabwe and southern Africa, which have suffered from the tumult of Mugabe’s reign, even as his hold on power sometimes seemed unshakable,” says the Washington Post.

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