Incoming Zimbabwe leader, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has given some assurance to former President Robert Mugabe that he and his family would be safe in the country, state media said on Friday.

Mnangagwa said this when the two men spoke for the first time since he returned home during the week.

The State-owned The Herald newspaper said Mugabe and Mnangagwa, who has been sworn in as president had agreed that the former leader may not attend the swearing-in ceremony because he was tired.

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 and his government.

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 from independence for close to four decades 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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