Zimbabwe Defense Forces Chief Constantino Chiwenga speaks in a press conference in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Nov. 20, 2017. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has opened discussions with former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who he fired two weeks ago, Constantino Chiwenga said Monday. (Xinhua/Shaun Jusa)
HARARE, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) said Monday they are encouraged by the opening of talks between President Robert Mugabe and former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who he fired two weeks ago.
Army chief Constantino Chiwenga told a press conference that Mnangagwa, currently in self imposed exile, was now expected back in the country soon.
"Thereafter, the nation will be advised on the outcome of talks between the two," Chiwenga said.
He said in the meantime, Mugabe, who was removed from the position of party leader on Sunday, had started processes towards a definitive solution and roadmap for the country.
"As this happens we as the Zimbabwe Defense Forces and Security Services urge Zimbabweans to remain calm and patient, fully observing and respecting the laws of the country," Chiwenga said.
Chiwenga said the ZDF meetings with Mugabe had gone on in an atmosphere of mutual respect with several guarantees being made.
The ZDF also remained seized with its operation code named "Operation Restore Legacy", he said.
"We are confident to take our beloved country out of its present circumstances and set in on the desired development trajectory," he said.
Chiwenga urged the generality of Zimbabweans to refrain from any actions or activities that threaten peace, life and property. Students should also remain clam and proceed with their educational programs as scheduled, Chiwenga said.
His appeal to students came after University of Zimbabwe students staged demonstrations and refused to write their examinations on Monday until Mugabe steps down.
The ZDF statement comes as the ruling ZANU-PF party on Sunday removed Mugabe from party leadership and replaced him with Mnangagwa.
The party has also resolved to move a motion to impeach Mugabe in Parliament Tuesday, the same day he will be chairing a cabinet meeting at State House.
Following the military seizure of power last Wednesday, Zimbabwe has been thrown into political turmoil as Zimbabweans and political parties have united in their call for Mugabe to step down.
In his televised speech to the nation Sunday night, Mugabe said he will chair the party's congress next month to address once and for all challenges afflicting the ruling party.