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UN Chief Calls For Calm, Restraint in Zimbabwe


HARARE, Zimbabwe: The United Nations says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is appealing for “calm, non-violence and restraint” in Zimbabwe.

UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters that Guterres stressed “the importance of resolving political differences through peaceful means and dialogue, and in line with the country’s constitution.”
Haq wouldn’t speculate on what’s going to happen in Zimbabwe, saying “at this stage there’s a bit of confusion on the ground.”
Haq added that “we are aware that our colleagues in Harare have been able to go about their work.”

The chairman of the African Union Commission has told reporters in Washington that Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and his wife are “safe in the country.”

The comments by Moussa Faki Mahamat at the National Press Club were shared on Twitter by a spokeswoman for the continental body. There had been questions over whether first lady Grace Mugabe had left Zimbabwe.
The AU leader also says a delegation from the 15-nation Southern African Development Community is already in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, as authorities seek to meet with Mugabe and the army.
The AU chair also says the continental body is against “any unlawful takeover of power anywhere on the continent.”

The chairman of the African Union Commission says the crisis in Zimbabwe must be resolved “in a manner that promotes democracy and human rights.”

Moussa Faki Mahamat in a statement Wednesday says the continental body aligns itself with the statement made by South African President Jacob Zuma on behalf of the 15-country southern African regional bloc.
Zuma’s statement for the Southern African Development Community, called for restraint and expressed hope that developments in Zimbabwe “would not lead to unconstitutional changes of government.”

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says it is not clear whether the dramatic events in Zimbabwe mark “the downfall of Mugabe.”

Johnson told the House of Commons it’s impossible to tell how events will play out in the southern African nation. Zimbabwe’s military says President Robert Mugabe is in custody after the army commander warned of stepping in to calm political turmoil.
Johnson accused Mugabe of rigging elections, torturing opponents and “the worst hyper-inflation in recorded history.”
Johnson says the country must not exchange one “unelected tyrant” for another.
He notes that Zimbabwe will hold elections next year and says the international community will work to “ensure this provides a genuine opportunity for all Zimbabweans to decide their future.”

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A former Zimbabwe finance minister and current activist says of President Robert Mugabe: “The old man should be allowed to rest.”

Tendai Biti spoke to South African broadcaster eNCA as the 93-year-old Mugabe was said to be in army custody after an unprecedented public rift with the military.
Zimbabweans are hoping that whatever happens next will occur without bloodshed.
Biti says that Mugabe is a “very intelligent man who must know the die is cast.”

South Africa’s president says he hopes Zimbabwe’s military will respect the constitution “so the situation will not go beyond the situation where it is now.”

President Jacob Zuma addressed the nation on television not long after speaking with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. Zuma said Mugabe is “fine” but confined to his home after the army appeared to take control.
Zuma says he hopes the situation in the neighboring country “is going to be controlled.” His office has said he is sending his defense and security ministers to meet with Mugabe and Zimbabwe’s army.

The head of Zimbabwe’s influential war veterans association says they stand with the army and that President Robert Mugabe should be recalled as president and ruling party leader.

Victor Matemadanda told reporters in the capital, Harare, that the country has been sliding into a “state of chaos.”
He says the ruling party should establish a commission of inquiry into Mugabe and why he decided to let his wife insult veterans and the armed forces.

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South Africa’s president says he has spoken with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and that the 93-year-old leader is confined to his home but is “fine.”

A statement by President Jacob Zuma’s office continues to refer to Mugabe as Zimbabwe’s president.
Zuma is sending South Africa’s ministers of defense and state security to Zimbabwe to meet with Mugabe and the military there.
Zuma is calling for calm.

South African President Jacob Zuma, as leader of the 15-nation Southern African Development Community, has “noted with great concern” the unfolding political situation in neighboring Zimbabwe.

Zuma, in a statement issued from his office Wednesday, called for “restraint and calm” and “expressed hope that developments in Zimbabwe would not lead to unconstitutional changes of government as that would be contrary to both SADC and African Union positions.”
Zuma urged all members of the Zimbabwe government and the military to “resolve the political impasse amicably.” The South African president said southern Africa’s regional body will “closely monitor the situation and remains ready to assist where necessary.”

In the wake of the military takeover in Zimbabwe, the national police force has recalled all officers on leave. A top police official who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press told The Associated Press that all police on leave have been ordered to return to their posts immediately.

Zimbabwe’s army said Wednesday it has President Robert Mugabe and his wife in custody and is securing government offices and patrolling the capital’s streets following a night of unrest that included a military takeover of the state broadcaster.

The night’s action triggered speculation of a coup, but the military’s supporters praised it as a “bloodless correction.”
Overnight three explosions were heard in the capital, Harare, and military vehicles were seen in the streets.
The military actions appear to put the army in control of the country. The Associated Press
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