Harare, Zimbabwe : Despite being sacked as party leader and with a possible impeachment looming, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Sunday – a televised address – refused to step down from his post despite calls from his own party to resign. Mugabe rather suggested he would preside over the party’s congress next month. The party responded by saying it gave Mugabe “every chance to have a dignified exit.”
Members of the political party ZANU-PF on Sunday expelled Mugabe as their leader and anointed Emmerson Mnangagwa the new party leader. The party issued an ultimatum that Mugabe would be impeached as president if he did not step down by mid-day Monday.
“The congress is due in a few weeks from now. I will preside over its processes, which must not be possessed by any acts calculated to undermine it or compromise the outcomes in the eyes of the public,” Mugabe outlined.
The president said the “failures of the past” may have triggered anger “in some quarters”. He said this was “quite understandable.”
The chairman of the Zimbabwe War Veterans Association, Chris Mutsvangwa, who led the campaign to oust the world’s oldest head of state, said Mugabe, 93, is “deaf and blind” to the desires of the people. He added that plans to impeach Mugabe would go ahead as planned.
The leader of Zimbabwe’s opposition, Morgan Tsvangirai, echoed the sentiments, saying he was “baffled” by the address.
“I am baffled. It’s not just me, it’s the whole nation. He’s playing a game. He has let the whole nation down,” Tsvangirai told reporters.
Zimbabwe ruling party’s chief whip said after the address that Mugabe’s impeachment will go ahead until ‘advised otherwise’
Mugabe has led Zimbabwe for 37 years, but his time as president appears to be coming to an end.
A military coup placed Mugabe, 93, under house arrest last week after he fired Mnangagwa as vice president and indicated he would transfer power to his wife, Grace.
“Whatever the pros and cons of how (the army) went about their operation, I, as commander-in-chief, do acknowledge their concerns,” Mugabe said Sunday in the televised address.
Hundreds of thousands of people poured into the streets of Harare, Zimbabwe, on Saturday to celebrate Mugabe’s apparent ouster.
EARLIER: Zimbabwe’s Ruling Zanu-PF Replaces Robert Mugabe With Axed VP Mnangagwa As Party Leader – Zimbabwe ruling party, ZANU-PF, has sacked Robert Mugabe as party leader and appointed former vice-president Mnangagwa in his place. The party’s central committee met in the capital Harare on Sunday. President Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace was also expelled from Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party. Impeaching the president is the next step when Parliament resumes Tuesday, and lawmakers will “definitely” put the process in motion, the main opposition’s parliamentary chief whip reportedly said.
Sunday’s meeting was reportedly been convened to remove President Robert Mugabe – Zimbabwe’s ruler of the last 37-year – as its leader.
The meeting was also expected to reinstate the axed vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Former vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, is expected to lead a new government after the Central Committee made him its nominee to take over as the country’s president when Mugabe goes. Without the military’s intervention, the first lady likely would have replaced Mnangagwa as vice president and been in a position to succeed her husband.
The Central Committee also expelled several high-level members close to the first lady, including minister of higher education Jonathan Moyo, finance minister Ignatious Chombo, Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao, local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere, foreign affairs minister Walter Mzembi and several others.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe later met military chiefs who have put him under house arrest on Sunday for a second round of negotiations to encourage him to stand down after 37 years in power.
In photos posted on the website of state-owned media, Mugabe was shown in a dark suit and tie and standing behind a wooden desk at State House as he shook hands with a procession of generals and the chief of police.
The ruling ZANU-PF party had earlier on Sunday dismissed the president and his wife from their party posts at a special meeting called to decide his fate.
They are expected to make a further attempt to persuade him to resign. Mediation was led by Catholic priest Fidelis Mukonori state TV said.
Mugabe’s talks with army commander Constantino Chiwenga were the second round of negotiations on an exit as the military tries to avoid accusations of a coup.
Zimbabwean officials have not revealed details of the talks, but the military appears to favor a voluntary resignation by Mugabe to maintain a veneer of legality in the political transition.
In a statement the Zanu-PF Youth League condemned Mr Mugabe’s allies for “looting and plundering” and his wife Grace for “vulgar, cunning and unruly behaviour”, and called on him to stand down and to “rest as an elder statesman”.
Nine of 10 Zanu-PF party chapters say Mr Mugabe should step down and their decision is likely to be endorsed at Sunday’s meeting of the party’s top body, the central committee.
Thousands marched through the streets of Harare in support of the military who took over government following the sacking of vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Following the peaceful protest in Harare, Zimbabweans said they are satisfied they have sent a clear message to Mugabe and his wife Grace to leave the highest office of the land.
Zimbabweans say they are ready for a new president.
Zimbabweans say want the 18th of November declared national independence day because it’s the day they united against Mugabe’s regime.
Soldiers seized the headquarters of Zimbabwe’s national broadcaster ZBC on Wednesday.
An army official, Maj Gen Sibusiso Moyo, then read out a statement on national television, assuring the nation that President Mugabe and his family were safe.
The military was only targeting what he called “criminals” around the president, he said, denying that there had been a coup.
On Friday, Mr Mugabe made his first public appearance since being put under house arrest, speaking at a university.
EARLIER : Zimbabwe Army Detains Mugabes, Controls Capital, StateBroadcaster, But Says ‘Not A Coup’ – Armed soldiers in armored personnel carriers have stationed themselves at key points in Harare. Zimbabwe’s army has taken President Robert Mugabe and his wife into custody, is in control of the capital, Harare, has taken over government offices and is patrolling the capital’s streets – but says it is ‘not a coup’. The military has also taken over the state broadcaster. Armed soldiers in armored personnel carriers have stationed themselves at key points in Harare.
In an address to the nation after taking control of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, Major General Sibusiso Moyo said early Wednesday the military is targeting “criminals” around Mugabe, and sought to reassure the country that order will be restored.
Mugabe and his wife is in the custody of the military. “Their security is guaranteed,” Moyo said.
“We wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not a military takeover,” he said. “We are only targeting criminals around (Mugabe) who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice.”
Moyo added “as soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.” The army spokesman called on churches to pray for the nation. He urged other security forces to “cooperate for the good of our country,” warning that “any provocation will be met with an appropriate response.”
All troops were ordered to return to barracks immediately, with all leave canceled, said Moyo. The broadcast was sent out from the ZBC headquarters in Pocket’s Hill near Harare’s Borrowdale suburb.
The night’s action triggered speculation of a coup, but the military’s supporters praised it as a “bloodless correction.” South Africa’s president, Zuma said he spoke with 93-year-old Mugabe – who has been in power since Zimbabwe’s independence from white minority rule in 1980. Zuma said Mugabe was “fine” but confined to his home.
The developments followed Mugabe’s firing of his deputy, which had appeared to position the first lady, Grace Mugabe, to replace Emmerson Mnangagwa as one of the country’s two vice presidents at a party conference next month.
It was not clear Wednesday where Mnangagwa was, though he fled the country last week citing threats to him and his family.
The U.S. Embassy closed to the public Wednesday and encouraged citizens to shelter in place, citing “the ongoing political uncertainty through the night.” The British Embassy issued a similar warning, citing “reports of unusual military activity.”