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The News – Capital Media
  • The Latest: China hopes for 'legal' resolution for Zimbabwe

  • China's government says it hopes Zimbabwe's political situation can be resolved "under the legal framework." Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters that China would be "glad to see an early restoration of national stability and social order in Zimbabwe." Geng did not say what role China is playing in Zimbabwe's situation. Questions have been raised about China's role because Zimbabwe's army commander visited the country last week.

, The choir sings as Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe presides over a student graduation ceremony at Zimbabwe Open University on the outskirts of Harare, Zimbabwe Friday, Nov. 17, 2017. Mugabe is making his first public appearance since the military put him under house arrest earlier this week. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

17 of November 2017 15:37:28

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — The Latest on Zimbabwe's political turmoil (all times local):

5:35 p.m.

China's government says it hopes Zimbabwe's political situation can be resolved "under the legal framework."

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters that China would be "glad to see an early restoration of national stability and social order in Zimbabwe."

Geng did not say what role China is playing in Zimbabwe's situation. Longtime President Robert Mugabe is under house arrest after the military moved in, and negotiations continue on his departure.

Questions have been raised about China's role because Zimbabwe's army commander visited the country last week. On Monday, he threatened to "step in" to calm Zimbabwe's tensions over Mugabe's firing of his longtime deputy.

China has called the visit by Gen. Constantino Chiwenga a "normal military exchange."

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4:20 p.m.

High-level supporters of the Zimbabwe vice president whose firing led the military to step in say reports of Emmerson Mnangagwa's return to the country are false.

The supporters say Mnangagwa, who is expected to lead any new government, will return to Zimbabwe only after processes to remove President Robert Mugabe are complete. They say he doesn't want his presence to be destabilizing.

They hope a rally on Saturday in the capital, Harare, in support of the military's move will increase pressure on Mugabe to step aside.

They say that if that fails, the impeachment of Mugabe would be the next step when Parliament resumes Tuesday.

The supporters spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media about the matter.

— Farai Mutsaka in Harare.

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3 p.m.

An official says another provincial branch of Zimbabwe's ruling party has passed a no-confidence vote in President Robert Mugabe as the world's oldest head of state struggles to remain in power.

The official with knowledge of the meeting says Mashonaland East province passed the no-confidence vote. Other ruling party branches in Zimbabwe's 10 provinces are said to be following suit.

Parliament is expected to resume sitting on Tuesday. It is possible that the ruling ZANU-PF party could use party procedures to impeach Mugabe with the support of opposition lawmakers.

Mugabe has been under house arrest since the military moved in this week, angered by his firing of longtime deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa. Negotiations continue on his departure, though he is said to be asking for more time.

— Farai Mutsaka in Harare.

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2:45 p.m.

At least one regional branch of Zimbabwe's ruling party has called on President Robert Mugabe to resign, and others are said to be following suit.

The Manicaland provincial committee in the eastern city of Mutare has called for the resignation as other party meetings are held across the country.

And the chairman of the influential war veterans' association in Zimbabwe has just read out a note to reporters saying other ruling party branches in Midlands, Masvingo and Harare have passed no-confidence votes in Mugabe.

Chris Mutsvangwa says other provinces are following suit.

A ZANU-PF provincial youth league meeting in the capital, Harare, was attended by some formerly expelled members who have supported the recently fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa. He is expected to lead any new government.

There was no sign of activity at the party's main headquarters, which is under military guard.

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2:20 p.m.

The chairman of the influential war veterans' association in Zimbabwe says three Cabinet ministers under President Robert Mugabe have been arrested.

Chris Mutsvangwa told reporters in the capital, Harare, that higher education minister Jonathan Moyo, local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere and finance minister Ignatious Chombo "are in jail" along with a number of others.

The information could not immediately be confirmed.

Mutsvangwa is an ally of the recently fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is expected to lead any new government.

Moyo was listed on the program for the graduation ceremony that Mugabe attended Friday morning, but there was no sign of him.

Zimbabwe's military said earlier Friday that it had arrested some Mugabe allies. It did not name names.

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2:10 p.m.

The chairman of the influential war veterans' association in Zimbabwe says President Robert Mugabe has asked for "a few more days, a few more months" amid negotiations on his departure from power.

Chris Mutsvangwa, an ally of the recently fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is expected to lead any new government, told reporters in Zimbabwe's capital that "between now and tomorrow" they will warn Mugabe that the game is over.

"He has to make a decision today to leave. ... If he doesn't leave, we will settle the scores tomorrow."

Mutsvangwa calls the president "a senile old man who had lost control of his wife." Fears that first lady Grace Mugabe would replace Mnangagwa led to the military stepping in.

Mutsvangwa said Mugabe's first public appearance since his house arrest, at a graduation ceremony Friday morning, was a "pretense."

The war veterans association chair says they are "on the same page" with their friends in South Africa's government, which has sent Cabinet ministers to negotiate with Mugabe.

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11:35 a.m.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's first public appearance since a military takeover is at a university graduation ceremony on the outskirts of Harare.

Clad in academic gown and hat, Mugabe walked slowly in a procession on a red carpet to a podium as a marching band played.

Several thousand graduates of the Zimbabwe Open University and guests stood as Mugabe and other dignitaries entered a tent set up for the event.

Once on the podium, Mugabe joined the crowd in singing Zimbabwe's national anthem. He announced the opening of the graduation ceremony, and the crowd applauded.

Mugabe's presidential security detail was present.

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11:30 a.m.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is making his first public appearance since the military put him under house arrest earlier this week, attending a graduation ceremony in the capital, Harare.

The appearance comes during an extraordinary series of negotiations with regional leaders over Mugabe's departure after 37 years in power.

The military is taking pains to show respect for the 93-year-old leader, the world's oldest head of state, by referring to him as the president and the commander-in-chief.

Friday's event appears to allow Mugabe to project the image of leadership, even as calls for his departure grow stronger.

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8:35 a.m.

Zimbabwe's military says it is continuing talks with President Robert Mugabe for his departure while it pursues those who were close to the leader and his wife.

Zimbabwe state media reported Friday morning a military statement saying talks with Mugabe "on the way forward" are ongoing.

The Zimbabwe Defense Forces said "significant progress has been made in their operation to weed out criminals around President Mugabe," adding that they had arrested some although others were still at large.

The statement said Zimbabwe's military is "currently engaging with the Commander-in-Chief President Robert Mugabe on the way forward and will advise the nation of the outcome as soon as possible." The state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation television aired a similar report in its early morning bulletin.


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