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Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 8:53 p.m.

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Mugabe makes 1st public appearance amid pressure to exit

By The Associated Press

This article was published November 17, 2017 at 11:23 a.m.

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe made his first public appearance since the military put him under house arrest this week, even as the military announced progress on talks for his departure and arrested some of his allies, and branches of the ruling party began to pass no-confidence votes in the world's oldest head of state.

Mugabe's appearance at a graduation ceremony, to polite applause, came during an extraordinary series of negotiations with regional leaders over his departure after 37 years in power.

Zimbabwe's military is taking pains to show respect for the 93-year-old by referring to him as the president and commander-in-chief.

But some in the ruling ZANU-PF party signaled they were getting impatient with Mugabe. Party branches passed no-confidence votes in the provinces of Mashonaland East and Manicaland. Others among the country's 10 provinces, including Midlands, Masvingo and Harare, were said to follow suit.

Parliament is expected to resume sitting on Tuesday, and it is possible that ZANU-PF could use party procedures to impeach Mugabe with the support of opposition lawmakers.

Former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose firing last week led the military to step in, will return to Zimbabwe only after processes to remove Mugabe are complete, high-level supporters told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters about the matter.

Read Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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