Mugabe holds crunch talks over his future; president seeks end to turmoil.
ZIMBABWE President Robert Mugabe held a South African delegation at his state house yesterday as negotiations pushed for a resolution to the political turmoil and the likely end to his decadeslong rule.
South Africa President Jacob Zuma, speaking in Parliament, said the political situation "very shortly will be becoming clear" but that it was too early to take any firm decision. The talks include the military and, reportedly, the Catholic Church.
Seizing on the political limbo to speak out, civil society groups and opposition leaders urged Mr Mugabe to step aside after 37 years in power and for the country to transition into free and fair elections. Mr Mugabe has been in military custody, reportedly with his wife, and there was no sign of the recently-fired deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, who fled the country last week.
The military remained in the streets of capital city Harare. Southern African regional officials were meeting in neighbouring Botswana on the crisis.
A joint statement by more than 100 civil society groups urged Mr Mugabe, 93, to peacefully step aside and asked the military to quickly restore order.
One analyst said he believed the negotiations "have pretty much reached an end-point" to get Mr Mugabe to step aside and that it was a "matter of hours or days"