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Mugabe has no intention of stepping down, says nephew

Speaking to Reuters from a secret location in South Africa, Patrick Zhuwao said Mugabe had hardly slept since the military seized power on Wednesday but his health was otherwise “good”.

FILE: Former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace Mugabe at a Zanu-PF rally on 8 November 2017. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace are “ready to die for what is correct” and have no intention of stepping down in order to legitimise this week’s military coup, his nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, said on Saturday.

Speaking to Reuters from a secret location in South Africa, Zhuwao said Mugabe had hardly slept since the military seized power on Wednesday but his health was otherwise “good”.

GALLERY: The people have spoken: Zimbabweans call for Mugabe to go

Dozens of Zimbabweans have shut down the country’s capital Harare in celebrations and peaceful marches calling for President Robert Mugabe to step down.

Despite, ongoing talks between Mugabe and the army, Zimbabweans say he should leave office immediately.

The military took control of government on earlier this week, placing Mugabe and under house arrest, insisting that the takeover was not a coup.

Many of those marching say the military takeover is a signal of a new dawn for Zimbabwe and its citizens.

Thousands of residents continue to pour in to the Zimbabwe Sports grounds as cars and buses from all over the country converge.

Zimbabweans have taken to the streets to show support for the army who took over government earlier this week.

It’s still unclear what the outcomes of ongoing talks between Mugabe and the army will be but local councillor Luckson Mukunguma says Mugabe must go.

“The honourable words is Mugabe to pack and go. The issue of demanding what he’s doing, those are delaying tactics and that can be done from a place of a person who lacks wisdom. Mugabe should go.”

Members of the army on Saturday are being called heroes for restoring hope that Zimbabwe will once again belong to the people.

All 10 of his party’s provincial committees on Friday called on him to resign.

This is the kind of headline that was unthinkable for 37 years.

The state broadcaster and the Herald reported that Zanu-PF had called on Mugabe to resign.

Provincial committees of the ruling party across the country said the 93-year-old had lost control of the government.

These are the committees that only two weeks ago backed the firing of Emmerson Mnangagwa, the vice president who clearly has the sympathies of the military who have put Mugabe under house arrest.

This betrayal by his own party will be a major blow to Mugabe, who is reported to still be holding out against demands by the military for him to step down.

Zimbabweans say their inaction during what’s been dubbed a soft coup is an endorsement of military take over.

Meanwhile, some Zimbabweans in Cape Town are welcoming the impending change in their home country.

Harare is at a standstill today as Zimbabweans are marching, calling for an end to 93-year old president Robert Mugabe's rule.

The military took over the government earlier this week, after Mugabe fired vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Several Zimbabweans living in Cape Town spoke to CapeTalk host Mpho Molotlegi this morning.

Leslie Mudimu says people in Zimbabwe feel safer now with the army in charge.

"I think its rattled a lot of political analysts because they're flipping through textbooks going 'this is a coup, this is what's supposed to happen,' and then you have this picture of an army tank and people moving about freely. Everyone has been feeling so comfortable and so safe ever since thos tanks moved into Harare."

Another Zim expat, Mabel Sithole has commended the way the military announced its intentions.

"The military recognised that Zimbabwe wants to have visionary leadership and that Zimbabweans are peace loving people that want to work together to build a Zimbabwe that is prosperous. I think that was an important contribution in how they announced their intention."

Additional reporting by Masechaba Sefularo and Monique Mortlock.

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