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Zanu-PF spokesman, Simon Khaya Moyo, announced the party's preferred candidate, Emmerson Mnangagwa, had tasked the revolutionary party to ensure a landslide victory in the face of a challenge by a coalition by opposition parties.

He pointed to large demonstrations in November calling for Mugabe's departure and "across the political spectrum support" for his replacement by a new administration.

Zimbabwean correctional services authorities are reportedly seeking President Emmerson Mnangagwa's consent to pardon at least 2 000 inmates in-order to ease congestion in the country's overloaded prisons.

Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe was ousted by a "military coup" that forced his resignation, former cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo said in an interview with the BBC broadcast on Thursday.

He said many Zimbabweans had "burning questions" over what had happened to the former leader, Mugabe, who had been humiliated by the military intervention.

"There is no evidence", Jonathan Moyo, a cabinet minister under Mugabe, told Reuters by phone from an undisclosed location, in one of the first detailed accounts from a Mugabe supporter since the coup.

Grace Mugabe's accelerating presidential ambitions contributed to Mnangagwa and the military taking action to prevent her taking over from her ailing husband.

Moyo scoffed at suggestions that Grace had not been popular in the country and said only "a minority might have had issues" with her.

Moyo said he fled his home in Borrowdale after receiving a tip off not to spend the night, on November 16, at the house. "I escaped the net of the military people to be where I am legally".

"Let him come and clear his name in the courts of law" said Charamba.

She had hoped to replace her husband as leader, but antagonised a faction of the ruling Zanu-PF party which led to a fallout within the party.

Other reports say that the Zimbabwean government has written the Kenyan government to send Moyo back to Zimbabwe because it believes the former minister is in that country. "He is suffering from fears of his own making".

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