Mnangagwa assures Mugabe of safety in Zimbabwe

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President Robert Mugabe (R) greets Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa as he arrives for Zimbabwe's Heroes Day commemorations in Harare, August 10, 2015. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

(Reuters/NAN) Incoming Zimbabwe leader, Emmerson Mnangagwa, assured former President Robert Mugabe, he and his family would be safe in the country, state media said on Friday.

Mnangagwa gave the assurance today, when the two men spoke for the first time since he returned home this week, according to the State-owned media, The Herald newspaper.

Also, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), an intergovernmental organisation, said on Friday that it was ready to work closely with Zimbabwe’s new leader Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government.

Mnangagwa was sworn in as Zimbabwean president on Friday following the resignation of Robert Mugabe, who had ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.

SADC is a 16-country intergovernmental organisation which is currently chaired by South Africa President Jacob Zuma.

Similarly, Mugabe was granted immunity from prosecution, sources close to the negotiations said on Thursday.

According to the source, Mugabe was assured that his safety would be protected in his home country as part of a deal that led to his resignation.

Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe for close to four decades but stepped down on Tuesday after the army seized power and the ruling party turned against him.

Mugabe led Zimbabwe from independence in 1980 but stepped down on Tuesday after the army seized power and the ruling party turned against him.

A government source said Mugabe, who is 93, told negotiators he wanted to die in Zimbabwe and had no plans to live in exile.

“It was very emotional for him and he was forceful about it,” said the source, who is not authorised to speak on the details of the negotiated settlement.

“For him it was very important that he be guaranteed security to stay in the country…although that will not stop him from traveling abroad when he wants to or has to,” the source said.

Mugabe’s rapid downfall was triggered by a battle to succeed him that pitted Mnangagwa against Mugabe’s wife Grace.

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