LIVE: Mugabe pictured in meeting with military

President Mugabe meeting ZDF Commander General Constantino Chiwenga, Father Fidelis Mukonori and South African envoys at State House this afternoon. The photo also shows South Africa’s defence minister Mapisa-Nqakula, state security minister Bongo seated next to Mugabe

President Mugabe chats with ZDF Commander General Constantino Chiwenga at State House.

The Zimbabwean military’s iron fist in velvet glove approach to launching a coup appears to be bearing fruit.

The troops and armoured vehicles are still on the streets, but so are local people going about their business seemingly content that the political stalemate will not descend into violence.

At least for now.

Outside the infamous Chikurubi jail, tanks are hidden in the trees, the army may be taking a softly-softly approach, but there is no doubt who’s in charge.

Robert Mugabe is still resisting calls for him to step aside though even he must realise his days as leader of this country are numbered.

Morgan Tsvangirai fought and lost two presidential elections to Mugabe, was beaten up by the president’s thugs and is battling cancer, but he baulked at the suggestion he’s taking pleasure in his old enemy’s plight, saying his opposition was always political not personal.

Tsvangirai denies he is being kept up to speed on the negotiations for a transitional post-Mugabe government of which he may be part, but the UK’s number two diplomat in Zimbabwe, Simon Thomas, the deputy head of mission in Harare, arrived for a face-to-face meeting with the former prime minister just in case.

Robert Mugabe has reportedly been negotiating his future behind the high security walls of State House, but as yet officially at least he remains Zimbabwe’s President… extending his 37-year tenure as the man in charge – one day at a time .

Refusing to step down

A source close to the military, who declined to be named, has told the AFP news agency Robert Mugabe “is refusing to step down. I think he is trying to buy time.”

President Robert Mugabe is believed to still be under house arrest with his wife Grace Mugabe, although witnesses have reported seeing his motorcade moving through the capital Harare.

Church leaders and civil society groups have urged the president to leave peacefully and make way for fresh leadership.

Mr Mugabe is insisting he remains Zimbabwe’s only legitimate ruler, and says he will serve his full term.

Former Zimbabwean vice president Joice Mujuru, who was fired by Mr Mugabe in 2014 and was accused of plotting to take power, has called for “free, fair and credible elections”  in “reasonable time” under the eye of the United Nations.

There has been no sign of the recently fired deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, who fled the country last week.

The UK and US embassies have urged its citizens in Zimbabwe to limit movements and avoid large gatherings of people.

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