Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, has urged President Robert Mugabe to resign in the interest of the country.
Mugabe is insisting that he remains Zimbabwe’s only legitimate ruler and has shied away from mediation by a Catholic priest to allow him a graceful exit after the military seized power.
“In the interest of the people, Robert Mugabe must resign and step down immediately,” Tsvangirai said.
Earlier, the opposition in Zimbabwe called for the intermediate installation of an interim government, a day after the surprise military takeover.
“At the moment the transitional government is the best way to go,” said Douglas Mwonzora, secretary-general of Tsvangirai’s party.
“We back the military move but the country should quickly go back a constitutional government.”
Special envoys sent by Jacob Zuma, South African President, were holding discussions on Mugabe’s fate with Zimbabwe’s leaders.
Officials from the Southern African Development Community were also meeting in Botswana’s capital, Gaborone, on Thursday to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe.
“What is needed is an inclusive government to run the affairs of Zimbabwe until a time it is right to have elections,” said Didymus Mutasa, a longtime minister in Mugabe’s government, who was fired in 2014 for backing Joice Mujuru as the president’s successor.
Jacob Mafume, a spokesman of the People’s Democratic Party led by Tendai Biti, said the interim government “should be inclusive of all the stakeholders including the church and all parties”.
While the army has said Mugabe is safe, there were mixed reports in the media about his wife Grace Mugabe’s whereabouts, with some saying she had fled the country.
Speculation had been growing before the coup that 52-year-old Grace was preparing to take over from her husband.