President Robert Mugabe last night agreed to step down.
A new government is to be formed within 48 hours, a twitter handle claiming to be speaking on behalf of the provisional government of Zimbabwe said.
Mugabe will then proceed on exile to South Africa.
Fresh elections will be held in the spring of 2018 once order and peace have been established.
The likely presidential election date is April 18, 2018, Zimbabwe’s independence day.
“The structure of government will remain the same under the provisional government of Zimbabwe. However, the introduction of new posts, such as ‘prime minister’ are being negotiated. “The new, provisional government of Zimbabwe will be formed within the next 48 hours. It is likely that vice presidential posts will remain vacant.
“Comrade R.G Mugabe is not going to be prosecuted for his actions and crimes throughout his tenure as Prime Minister (1980–1987) and President of the republic (1987–2017). He has accepted H.E Jacob Zuma’s offer and will depart to South Africa after the resignation.
“Mugabe is currently negotiating with the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. The provisional government will soon address the nation to update you all with the current situation.”
Mugabe’s wife Grace and two key figures from her G40 political faction are under house arrest at Mugabe’s “Blue House” compound in Harare and are insisting the 93-year-old finishes his presidential term, a source said.
The G40 figures are cabinet ministers Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere, who fled to the compound after their homes were attacked by troops in Tuesday night’s coup, the source, who said he had spoken to people inside the compound, said.
Zimbabwean intelligence reports seen by Reuters suggest that former security chief Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was ousted as vice-president this month, has been mapping out a post-Mugabe vision with the military and opposition for more than a year.
Fuelling speculation that that plan might be rolling into action, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who has been receiving cancer treatment in Britain and South Africa, returned to Harare late on Wednesday, his spokesman said.
He urged President Mugabe to resign in the interest of the country.
“In the interest of the people, Robert Mugabe must resign and step down immediately,” Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, told a news conference, reading from a statement.
The opposition called for the intermediate installation of an interim government.
“At the moment the transitional government is the best way to go,” said Douglas Mwonzora, Secretary-General of Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party.
“We back the military move but the country should quickly go back a constitutional government.”
Armoured vehicles that were stationed at key government buildings during the political upheaval on Wednesday remained in place.
The soldiers appeared relaxed, even smiling and chatting with onlookers.
Most people were going about their daily business and children went to school.
Special envoys sent by South African President Jacob Zuma 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 yesterday 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 long-time 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 that any 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.
The potential ascendency appears to have faced resistance from senior military officials.
There was an uneasy calm on the streets of Harare, after initial jubilation on Wednesday when the army announced it had seized control from Mugabe