An aide to Zimbabwe’s former president, Robert Mugabe, has said he feared civilians could “drag out and lynch” the leader in a “Libyan scenario”.
During Mr Mugabe’s last week in office, he was under house arrest as the military staged a takeover which would eventually oust him.
“I started visualising an image of Muammar Gaddafi,” former presidential spokesman George Charamba said.
He was speaking to Zimbabwe’s privately owned Daily News site.
Recalling the last days of Mr Mugabe’s 37-year rule, Mr Charamba said the 93-year-old wanted “to go on his own terms” and had to be warned of the dangers following the military’s intervention and the outbreak of protests.
While Mr Mugabe was held at his lavish Blue Roof mansion, negotiations over his future were being thrashed out between military generals, Catholic priests, political aides and South African envoys.
Mr Charamba says military officials informed the group that tens of thousands of protesters calling for the president’s resignation could target Mr Mugabe personally.
“It was possible because the soldiers said ‘we cannot turn our guns on civilians who are marching against the president and spill blood,'” the Daily News reports Mr Charamba as saying.
Libya’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi was captured then killed in 2011 following an uprising against his four-decade rule.