Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has made his first public appearance since the country’s army took over on Wednesday, November 15, 2017.
Mugabe, who was believed to be under house arrest, attended a university graduation ceremony in Harare on Friday, where he was welcomed by a cheering crowd of supporters.
Dressed in a blue academic gown and hat, he entered the ceremony venue surrounded by security personnel, and announced the opening of the event after joining the crowd in singing the national anthem.
Earlier today, the country’s military said it was “engaging” with Mr Mugabe and would divulge the outcome of the talks to the public “as soon as possible”.
“Significant progress has been made in their operation to weed out criminals around President Mugabe,” the statement said, adding that the military had arrested some while others remained at large.
Those sought had been “committing crimes that were causing social and economic suffering in Zimbabwe”.
The generals took over late on Tuesday after vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa was sacked and Mugabe’s wife Grace emerged in prime position to succeed her increasingly frail husband.
Zimbabwe was left stunned by the military intervention sparked by the bitter succession battle between Grace and Mnangagwa, 75.
Analysts say the military leadership was strongly opposed to Grace’s rise, while Mnangagwa has close ties to the defence establishment.
Mugabe and the army chiefs held talks on Friday as the takeover appeared to signal his imminent exit from office after 37 years in power since Zimbabwe won independence from Britain in 1980.
Mnangagwa, who is a leading candidate to succeed Mugabe, flew back to Harare on Thursday after fleeing the country when he was sacked last week.