The Zambian government has officially waded into the political crisis in next door Zimbabwe after stating last week that it was monitoring the situation.
President Edgar Lungu on Monday sent former president Kenneth Kaunda to Harare to try to convince President Robert Mugabe to step down after his widely expected resignation on Sunday did not come on in a 20-minutes address to the nation.
“Dr Kaunda used the presidential jet and has already arrived in Harare,” a senior government source told Reuters.
The 93-year-old Kaunda served as Zambia’s first president between 1964 and 1991. After 27 years in power, he eventually lost the country’s first multi-party elections and was replaced by Frederick Chiluba. Kaunda like Mugabe is also an independent war veteran.
Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) took power last Wednesday after warning Mugabe to halt purge of supporters belonging to axed vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa. The army has since held Mugabe under house arrest allowing him a brief appearance at a graduation ceremony last Friday.
Efforts to get Mugabe, 93, to step down started last week with a delegation from South Africa and the Catholic Church joining the army to talk him out. Two rounds of talk with Mugabe have failed to get the desired results.
The ruling party, ZANU-PF on Sunday removed Mugabe as its president and first secretary, its lawmakers have also started processes to impeach Mugabe when parliament reconvenes on Tuesday.