Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has attended a university graduation ceremony in the capital Harare on 17 November in spite of an ongoing political crisis and efforts to oust him.

This is his first public appearance since the country witnessed what has been described as a "bloodless correction of power"at the hands of the military earlier in November.

Wearing a blue and yellow academic gown and mortarboard hat, Mugabe was greeted by ululations from the crowd as he initiated the ceremony on Friday, 17 November, Reuters reported.

The event comes one day after the 93-year old leader was pictured shaking hands with army commander Constantino Chiwenga, the general who ordered his arrest.

Mounting tensions after Mugabe fired his deputy, vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, resulted in the army temporarily taking over the helm of the country to target "criminals close to Mugabe".

The military, which insists it did not carry out a coup, seized state broadcaster ZBC and announced in a televised speech on 15 November that Mugabe and his family were "safe and sound". It is believed that Mugabe has been in custody in his house in Harare since.

The Zimbabwe Defence Forces said on Friday that "significant progress has been made in their operation to weed out criminals around President Mugabe," adding that they had arrested some, although others were still at large.

Mugabe and the army have been engaged in talks to secure a dignified exit for the president, who has run Zimbabwe since the country achieved independence in 1980. However, it appears that Mugabe is rejecting calls to step down.

It is not clear whether Mugabe's wife, Grace, also attended the ceremony. Speculation is rife on the whereabouts of the First Lady who, along with Mnangagwa, is seen as a likely successor of Mugabe.

Some analysts believe the military's intervention was to stop Grace's bid for power.

Robert Mugabe Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe's Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters