Zimbabwe’s former vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has urged President Robert Mugabe to resign, amid continued uncertainty over the political fate of the African country.
“The people of Zimbabwe have spoken with one voice and it is my appeal to President Mugabe that he should take heed of this clarion call by the people of Zimbabwe to resign, so that the country can move forward and preserve his legacy,” Mnangagwa said in a statement on Tuesday.
Mnangagwa, who is widely expected to take over from Mugabe as president, fled Zimbabwe shortly after being sacked by the president from the ruling party early this month.
Mnangagwa, who is believed to be in South Africa, said he had been invited by Mugabe to return home but added that he would only do so when his personal security was assured.
“I told the president that I would not return home now until I am satisfied of my personal security, because of the manner and treatment given to me upon being fired,” he said.
Zimbabwe faced an effective coup on Wednesday, when military vehicles blocked roads in the capital, Harara, and a spokesman for the military announced on the national broadcaster that a “bloodless transition” was underway in the country.
Mugabe’s own ruling party, the ZANU-PF, then dismissed him as head of the party, and while the long-time Zimbabwean president was said to be under house arrest, he later appeared in public, apparently continuing his presidency. Both the army and some of his opponents continue to refer to him as president.
The ZANU-PF is now planning to impeach President Mugabe.