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Saturday showed him that the people no longer loved him [Mugabe],” said an insider privy to the negotiations.
Thousands of Zimbabweans marched outside his house last Saturday, singing “zvikaramba toita zve jende [if it does not work, we will use force]”.“Mugabe spent his last moments as president on November 21 before and after being pressured to resign at 1.30pm at his Borrowdale mansion in Harare, surrounded by close family friends and members of negotiating team which was engaged in talks between him and the military,” a close family member said.“He was with Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi, his spokesman George Charamba, acting director general of the Central Intelligence Organisation Aaron Daniel Tonde Nhepera and close family friend, former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono, who was invited to join the negotiating team by Mugabe’s family on Friday November 17,” said a witness to the negotiations.
By midnight, four tanks, comprising Russian and Chinese-built T69s and T72s, headed to Mugabe’s mansion.
Mugabe’s military men, the Presidential Guard Brigade, headed by Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantino Chiwenga’s confidante Nhamo Anslous Sanyatwe, had been briefed of the operation, which was later code-named “Operation Restore Legacy”.
Anglicans obedient to his replacement, Bishop Chad Gandiya, say Konunga – a fervent supporter of Mugabe – has since been allowed to wage a campaign of intimidation against them with the protection of the police.
As pressure intensified, the number of high-ranking officials visiting Mugabe’s Borrowdale home increased.
On the day he tendered his resignation, Chief Secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda, attorney general Prince Machaya, Mukonori, Justice Minister Happyton Bonyongwe, Sekeramayi and Mugabe spokesperson George Charamba had a morning meeting with Mugabe that lasted about four hours.
To mark the occasion, one of the attendees suggested that a picture be taken of the historic occasion.
A sequence of pictures, that included Gono, Charambra, Nhepera and others were taken, but one, purportedly showing a demure Grace and dejected Mugabe, has been held up as evidence of Mugabe’s defeat.