EX-PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has told the visiting African Union commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat that he stepped down from his post for the sake of “peace and development” following a military intervention in November.
Speaking to journalists in Harare after a three day visit to the southern African country on Monday, Mahamat said his mission was to get first-hand information regarding the country’s political transition last year.
“I met him (Mugabe), we exchanged views, and he also explained why he resigned. It was for peace and development of the country. And we appreciated that very much,” Mahamat was quoted as saying.
Mahamat said he could not leave the southern African nation without meeting Mugabe as the nonagenarian formed part of the country’s and continental liberation heroes.
The report, however, quoted unnamed sources as saying that Mugabe made it clear to the AU diplomat that he was forced out of power by the military who took over his Zanu-PF party and government.
The sources said that Mugabe told the AU envoy that the process that removed him from power was a “coup”.
This came amid reports that tensions were “intensifying” between Mnangagwa and the “military clique surrounding him”.
Senior government sources indicated last week that military elements within the ruling Zanu PF had “serious political ambitions”.
It was believed that they wanted Mnangagwa to serve one term – if he won the upcoming elections – before handing over to his deputy Constantino Chiwenga.
Mnangagwa appointed Chiwenga, who led the military takeover that helped end ex-president Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule, as one of the country two vice presidents in December.
“Tensions and mistrust are certainly building up in government, although things may appear rosy on the surface. The feeling is that the military clique is making too many demands both in government and the party (Zanu PF).