Mugabe will play a staff role in Zimbabwe, says the mediator


  Father Fidelis Mukonori

Legend of the image

Father Fidelis Mukonori mediated between Robert Mugabe and the military

Robert Mugabe will continue to play a role in Zimbabwean politics, the Jesuit priest who helped negotiate his resignation told the BBC.

Father Fidelis Mukonori said he would provide "advice" as an elder statesman, including the new president.

Mr. Mugabe, 93, resigned on Tuesday after a military intervention and days of mbad protests.

Mr. Mukonori said he could not confirm the reports that he was granted a large sum of money to get him out of the office.

Emmerson Mnangagwa swore to replace Mugabe as president on Friday.

Mnangagwa, long a close ally of Mugabe, was fired earlier this month, unleashing the political crisis that eventually saw his boss fall. [19659005] Father Mukonori, 70, close to Robert Mugabe and mediator between him and the military, said the new president would turn to his predecessor for political advice.

"In the African world, older people are there as advice," he told Richard Galpin of the BBC in a church outside the capital, Harare, after leading a service that included prayers of thanks for the peaceful transfer of power.

He added that Mr. Mugabe and his wife Grace remained in their home in Harare and had no plans to leave the country.

The military takeover was widely seen as a reaction to Mr. Mugabe's moves to ensure that Grace succeeded him, including the dismissal of Mnangagwa from the vice presidency.

Father Mukonori referred to what Mr. Mnangagwa said about his predecessor in his inauguration.

"When he says he's my father, he's my leader, he's my mentor," you tell me he'll stay away from his father, his mentor, his leader, I do not believe then. "

He said he could not confirm reports that the former president was given millions of dollars and promised that his badets would not be touched to persuade him to resign.

"We did not offer him anything … He resigned for the good of Zimbabwe," he said.

He added: "What I have read in the newspapers is about immunity [from prosecution] and that he will be treated like any other former head of state …"

Mr. Mugabe leaving power, he added, was the best I had done sometime.

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Media legend President Mnangagwa called Robert Mugabe "father, mentor, comrade-in-arms and my leader"

Separately on Sunday, Robert Mugabe was described as being "pretty jovial" by a nephew in an interview with the French news agency AFP.

"He is really looking forward to his new life: to cultivate and stay in the rural home, he has taken it very well," said Leo Mugabe. .

He said Grace wanted to focus on the plans already announced to build the controversial $ 1bn Robert Mugabe University in Mazowe, near Harare.

There is a fear that President Mnangagwa, who is badociated with some of the worst atrocities committed under the Zanu-PF ruling party since independence in 1980, will not usher in the democratic reforms that many in Zimbabwe expect.

But Father Mukonori said he believed that the former spymaster knew that democracy is "crucial."

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