HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) – The Latest on Zimbabwe’s political turmoil (all times local):
Zimbabwe’s military is reporting “no violation of constitutional processes” in an update on its operation launched last week that led the resignation of Robert Mugabe.
Its new statement also praises Zimbabweans for behaving well in their demonstrations calling for Mugabe’s departure and welcoming incoming leader Emmerson Mnangagwa, who will be sworn in Friday.
The statement says the military looks forward to “another massive gathering” for the inauguration “at a venue to be advised.” The ruling party has said it will take place at the 60,000-seat National Sports Stadium in the capital, Harare.
Zimbabwe’s opposition party MDC-T, which supported Robert Mugabe’s removal from office, says it is “cautiously optimistic” that incoming leader Emmerson Mnangagwa “will not mimic and replicate the evil, corrupt, decadent and incompetent Mugabe regime.”
Spokesman Obert Gutu says that “the electoral playing field should have been completely evened up” when the country goes into elections next year.
Gutu says in a statement Thursday that the opposition party will closely watch Mnangagwa’s next moves, “particularly regarding the dismantling of all the oppressive pillars of repression and oppression that had been put in place by the outgoing Mugabe regime.”
Mnangagwa was a longtime Mugabe ally before being fired by him earlier this month. The incoming leader praised the ruling party Wednesday and vowed death to “enemies.” He will be sworn in Friday.
Activists and human rights groups are already expressing concerns as Zimbabwe’s incoming leader is set to be sworn in on Friday.
The pastor who led large anti-government protests last year, Evan Mawarire, says Zimbabweans should let Emmerson Mnangagwa know that the country should be for everyone and not just the ruling party.
Mnangagwa in his first speech in his new role on Wednesday spoke about “working together,” but he also recited slogans from the ruling ZANU-PF party.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch is urging Zimbabwe’s military to publicly identify everyone detained after it swept in last week and took then-President Robert Mugabe under house arrest. The military has said it was targeting so-called “criminals” close to the first lady accused of hurting the economy.
As Zimbabwe prepares to swear in a new leader after 37 years, attention is turning to the fate of Robert Mugabe and his wife.
The 93-year-old Mugabe, who resigned on Tuesday as lawmakers began impeaching him, has not been seen outside a few photographs since his stunning speech to the nation on Sunday night in which he defied calls to step down.
He is said to remain in the capital, Harare, with former first lady Grace but it is not clear under what terms. Some are wondering whether he has secured guarantees of protection, including immunity from prosecution.
Longtime deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, fired by Mugabe earlier this month, is set to be sworn in Friday after making a triumphant return to the country. He greeted a cheering crowd Wednesday night.