Exiled former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, emboldened by events unfolding in Zimbabwe and mounting pressure on embattled President Robert Mugabe has called on his former boss to step down or be humiliated by ordinary people.
Mnangagwa, axed by Mugabe from Cabinet and Zanu PF two weeks ago, in a statement earlier today attributed to him, said he had received communication from the President inviting him to talk but argued such discussions could not supersede the "will of the people" in the form of impeachment proceedings triggered by the ruling party.
Defence forces commander General Constantino Chiwenga told journalists late Monday that Mugabe had made contact with Mnangagwa who was now expected in the country "soon" for talk with the deposed Zanu PF leader ahead of possible handover of power.
"I can confirm that President Robert Gabriel Mugabe made contact with me and invited me to return home for a discussion on the current political events in the nation.
"I told the President that I would not return home now until I am satisfied of my personal security, because of the manner and treatment given to me upon being fired," said Mnangagwa.
In the statement, the former vice president said he had warned Mugabe against defying the will of the people as indicated by the 93-year-old veteran nationalist's televised speech to citizens on Sunday.
"In my conversation with the president I told him that there are two options, that is (a) to cooperate in the current negotiations with comrades from the defence forces for a peaceful resolution of this crisis, which would result in the preservation of his legacy. (b) that if he continues to dig in, in defiance of the will of the people, he might suffer humiliation because definitely the will of the people will prevail against one person," Mnangagwa said.
The former Vice President said Mugabe had humiliated him on the day he was fired from government.
"He (Mugabe) requested me to come to State House, and l replied that l was out of the country, and that he had already removed my status as the VP of the country, as such I had no status, however, l can only come at the invitation of my colleagues in the party and of the defence forces, when they feel that my security is guaranteed," he said.
"... events that followed my dismissal on Monday 6th November 2017 at 4.00pm, my security details assigned to me and at my residency were immediately withdrawn. This was contrary to all the protocols that have exited in Zimbabwe to former State Vice Presidents of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
"Security personnel, who are friendly to me, warned me that plans were underfoot to eliminate me once arrested and taken to a police station. It was in my security interest to leave the country immediately."
Mnangagwa said the move by Zanu PF to impeach Mugabe after he failed to comply with a central committee decision to voluntarily resign could not be stopped by talks between the two.
"Parliament is the ultimate expression of the will of the people outside an election and, in my view, is expressing national sentiment by implementing the impeachment proceedings therefore talks between myself and the "President cannot supersede the expression and fundamental rights of fellow Zimbabweans," said Mnangagwa.
Noting the weekend protests by thousands of Zimbabweans led by veterans of the liberation struggle and the military Mnangagwa said "to me the voice of the people is the voice of God and their lack of trust and confidence in the leadership of President Mugabe has been expressed".
"The people of Zimbabwe have spoken with one voice and it is my appeal to President Mugabe that he should take heed of this clarion call by the people of Zimbabwe to resign so that the country can move forward and preserve his legacy," the former VP said.
Mnangagwa reminded Mugabe that the former guerrilla leader had promised to step down if the people wanted him to.
"His Excellency, Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe has always said that if the people don't want him he will leave office, now that they have spoken he must now accep the will of the people and resign," said Mnangagwa adding the President had admitted to "latent disregard to the interest of the people and dereliction of duty, surely after making such an admission common sense dictates that it should have been followed by an apology and immediate resignation to save the legacy of our struggle".
Mnangagwa promised to return and join the struggle for Zimbabwe's economic revival "once my security is guaranteed".