SOON after the departure of a South African negotiation team dispatched by the Southern African Development Community' unconfirmed news spread like a veld fire that President Robert Mugabe may have agreed to a compromise.
However' for ministers aligned to a faction called G40' it was a case of hide and seek with military intelligence that had already captured the Minister of Finance Dr Ignatius Chombo' whose guard was killed protecting his boss. That sent a clear message that the military was on the warpath on Tuesday morning after announcing the takeover.
Mugabe's nephew Patrick Zhuwao' the Minister of Public Service' Labour and Social Welfare' was in Argentina when the army struck. He chose to stay put there.
Two leading figures in the faction of Professor Jonathan Moyo and Savior Kasukuwere' who were widely credited with blocking former Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa's ascent to power' kept a low profile and the army failed to get them.
When the army arrived at Moyo and Kasukuwere's houses they opened fire but the two ministers were long gone' having sought refuge at President Robert Mugabe's private residence' the "Blue Roof" in Borrowdale' the richest suburb of Harare. The president' his wife and children were also holed up there.
The Vice-President' Phelekezela Mpoko was' was said to be in Dubai at the time of the "coup".
"Basically, there is no government in Zimbabwe. Cabinet failed to seat on Tuesday because all ministers chose to stay away fearing for their lives'" said a senior government employee.
Foreign Affairs Minister Walter Mzembi was in Zambia on official business. He said he would not go back to Zimbabwe until normalcy had returned.
"It really can't get to the bottom of my heart that a country that I carried the cross for at the UNWTO (World Tourism Organisation) elections could be seeking to make me a fugitive'" Mzembi said.
Minister of Sports' Art and Culture' Makhosini Hlongwane' only managed to leave the country for Mozambique on Thursday morning. It was an unfortunate case for Masvingo provincial minister Paul Chimedza who was arrested at an army roadblock on his way to South Africa.
"More ministers will go into hiding fearing that they could be linked to G40. The army was clear that those ministers are 'criminal elements''" added the source.
By time of going to press' no communique had been issued in relation to the mediation process chaired by South Africa.