Amidst political uncertainty, Mugabe attends varsity graduation in Harare 

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, amidst uncertain surrounding his political future, following what had all the trappings of a coup by the country’s military, yesterday turned up at a university graduation ceremony in the capital, Harare, his first public appearance since the military took control of some government institutions and placed him under house arrest two days ago.

Mugabe, according to agency reports, yesterday arrived at the

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe delivers a speech during a graduation ceremony at the Zimbabwe Open University in Harare, where he presides as the Chancellor on November 17 2017. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe attended a university graduation ceremony today, making a defiant first public appearance since the military takeover that appeared to signal the end of his 37-year reign. AFP

in a blue-and-yellow gown, accompanied by his security detail.

The event was apparently designed to convey a business-as-usual atmosphere, even as the Generals pulling the strings in Harare are desperate not to give the impression they are orchestrating an unconstitutional take over of power.

But behind the scenes, efforts to push Mugabe aside appeared to be foundering, as he was reported to be resisting a plan to oust him, a move said to be frustrating the Generals and extending the country’s political uncertainty.

He was said to have pushed back on a deal to replace him with an interim leader, even as the citizens and indeed, the international community await a peaceful and quick resolution of the impasse.

Frustrated with Mugabe’s resistance, the commander of the defence forces, General Constantino Chiwenga, said the President had until yesterday to change his stance, “or we do it the hard way,” a source said.

On Thursday, Mugabe was photographed in talks with the Chiwenga and others at the official State House, but he appears to digging his heels in.

At yesterday’s ceremony, Mugabe conferred degrees on university students as if nothing was untoward. But if he thought that attending the event would make it look as if he was still in charge, the tactic backfired, as the 93-year-old said little and drifted in and out of sleep on stage.

Zimbabwe drifted into crisis after Mugabe fired his equally powerful Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is thought to have strong connections and support of the military and is believe to be one of those been touted to replace Mugabe in a power deal being brokered.

Mugabe, who rose to power as a freedom fighter and was seen as Zimbabwe’s Nelson Mandela, has ruled the country for 37 years and since independence in 1980.



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