JOHANNESBURG – While President Jacob Zuma deploys envoys to politically-charged Zimbabwe, that country’s War Veterans Association says it’s time that Robert Mugabe is removed.
The association’s Victor Matemadanda has held a briefing praising the military takeover, saying its “for the good of Zimbabwe”.
The country’s military seized power early on Wednesday morning targeting so-called “criminals” around Mugabe but gave assurances on national television that the 93-year-old leader and his family were “safe and sound”.
Both Al Jazeera and CNN earlier reported that the whereabouts of Mugabe were unknown.
However, Zuma has confirmed that he spoke to Mugabe earlier on Wednesday.
“I have also contacted his Excellency President Mugabe whom I had time to talk to and he is fine but confined in his home.”
In his capacity as South African Development Community chair, Zuma said: “Of course, given the seriousness of the situation I have taken a decision to send an envoy to be able to contact the leaders of the defence force who have undertaken the operation but also to meet with President Mugabe.”
Zuma has called for calm and restraint.
“We are hoping that this situation is going to be controlled so that peace and stability come back to Zimbabwe.”
‘GIVE MUGABE’S FAMILY POLITICAL ASYLUM’
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is calling on the South African government to give Mugabe and his family political asylum.
The EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi says Mugabe must hand over political power to the next generation.
“For the interest of peace that Mugabe and his family are given political asylum in South Africa. The level of detail of that can be discussed by the government but in order for a peaceful transition, to allow the transition to happen as quickly as possible…”
State radio has resumed some of its normal broadcasts.
The ZBC’s main broadcasting centre in Harare was taken over by the army in the early hours of the morning.
Since early on Wednesday morning, state-run radio and TV have only been replaying statements from the defence forces commander and the army spokesman.
Shortly afternoon stations resumed normal broadcasts, playing music other than songs from the country’s independence war.
Lunchtime news did feature items other than the army statement that was made early in morning. It included lists of fixtures for premier league soccer matches.
A special edition of the state-run Herald is due on the streets this afternoon: it’s editor-in-chief, Caesar Zvayi tweeted a picture of the front page with the headline: No military takeover.