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Chiwenga still treating Mugabe as his commander-in-chief

by Staff reporter
20 Nov 2017 at 10:11hrs | Views
As Zimbabweans poured on to the streets of Harare to celebrate the expected departure of the man who has ruled over them for nearly 40 years, Robert Mugabe sat with a friend, munching corn and reminiscing about old times.

"He was talking about his school days in the 1930s and anthropology and how it impacted on the colonial perception of Africans and their intellect," said George Charamba, who has been the president's spokesman and one of his closest advisers for 17 years.

Mr Charamba, who said he spent five hours with Mr Mugabe on Saturday and left him just 20 minutes before talking to the Financial Times, said the 93-year-old liberation hero remained on form in spite of the storms raging around him.

Gen Chiwenga was still treating Mr Mugabe as his commander-in-chief, he said, adding that the South African emissaries sent to mediate on Thursday were surprised to see Mr Mugabe chairing the meeting, which was conducted in a jovial mood.

"When he got in, he saluted his president," he said, referring to Gen Chiwenga.

"They are not challenging the president's authority, they are not challenging the president's role," he said.

Asked if Mr Mugabe had not been shocked at images of tens of thousands of Zimbabweans openly mocking him and urging him to quit the presidency, Mr Charamba conceded: "Certainly it was a protest rally, you can't run away from that."

Still, he insisted, Mr Mugabe's fate would be decided by those wielding power and not by the will of the people. "What we see in the streets is just atmospherics," he said.

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Source - Financial Times