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Zimbabwean president, wife, top allies holed up in Mugabe's Blue House compound

Zimbabwean president, wife, top allies holed up in Mugabe's Blue House compound

- President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace are said to be under house arrest in the Blue House

- Two officials from Mrs Mugabe's political faction are also among those included Blue House

- Former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa has been mapping out a post-Mugabe vision with the military and opposition

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, his wife Grace and two key figures from her G40 political faction are under house arrest at Mugabe's Blue House compound in Harare and are insisting the 93-year-old finishes his presidential term, a source said.

The G40 figures are cabinet ministers Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere, who fled to the compound after their homes were attacked by troops in Tuesday night's coup, the source who said he had spoken to people inside the compound said.

READ ALSO: 4 facts about 'Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa' the man who replaced Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe

The source said Mugabe is resisting mediation by a Catholic priest to allow the 93-year-old former guerrilla a graceful exit after a military coup.

The priest, Fidelis Mukonori, is acting as a middle-man between Mugabe and the generals, who seized power on Wednesday in a targeted operation against “criminals” in his entourage, a senior political source told Reuters.

The source could not provide details of the talks, which appear to be aimed at a smooth and bloodless transition after the departure of Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.

Mugabe, still seen by many Africans as a liberation hero, is reviled in the West as a despot whose disastrous handling of the economy and willingness to resort to violence to maintain power destroyed one of Africa’s most promising states.

Zimbabwean intelligence reports seen by Reuters suggest that former security chief Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was ousted as vice-president this month, has been mapping out a post-Mugabe vision with the military and opposition for more than a year.

Fuelling speculation that the plan might be rolling into action, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who has been receiving cancer treatment in Britain and South Africa, returned to Harare late on Wednesday, his spokesman said.

South Africa said Mugabe had told President Jacob Zuma by telephone on Wednesday that he was confined to his home but was otherwise fine and the military said it was keeping him and his family, including wife Grace, safe.

In spite of the lingering admiration for Mugabe, there is little public affection for 52-year-old Grace, a former government typist who started having an affair with Mugabe in the early 1990s as his first wife, Sally, was dying of cancer.

Dubbed “DisGrace” or “Gucci Grace” on account of her reputed love of shopping, she enjoyed a meteoric risen through the ranks of Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF in the last two years, culminating in Mnangagwa’s removal a week ago, a move seen as clearing the way for her to succeed her husband.

In contrast to the high political drama unfolding behind closed doors, the streets of the capital remained calm with people going about their daily business, albeit under the watch of soldiers on armoured vehicles at strategic locations.

Whatever the final outcome, the events could signal a once-in-a-generation change for the former British colony.

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A regional breadbasket reduced to destitution by economic policies Mugabe’s critics have long blamed on him.

Earlier, reported that the Zimbabwean military has took over the country's capital, Harare, and no less than three explosions were reported in the city by morning of Wednesday, November 15.

Army boss, Major Gen SB Moyo claimed President Mugabe and family are safe but army is ‘targeting criminals around him'.

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