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Robert Mugabe given deadline to resign as President by Zimbabwe's ruling party

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was fired by the autocrat two weeks ago, appointed as interim leader

Rachel Roberts
Sunday 19 November 2017 14:25 GMT
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After 37 years in power, Robert Mugabe has finally been sacked as leader of Zimbabwe's ruling party
After 37 years in power, Robert Mugabe has finally been sacked as leader of Zimbabwe's ruling party (REUTERS)

Robert Mugabe has been given until noon on Monday to resign or he will face impeachment, Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu PF's party's central committee has said.

The 93-year-old leader has also been fired as the party's chief. The recently dismissed Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa will replace him.

The party said if he doesn't step down as President by midday on Monday they will begin impeachment proceedings when Parliament resumes the following day.

Mr Mugabe's 52-year-old wife Grace has also been expelled from the party. An official said she would also be prosecuted, along with "a number of others".

She has been accused of "preaching hate, divisiveness and assuming roles and powers not delegated to the office." The controversial first lady, who used to be her husband's secretary, has also been removed as head of the women's league.

The vote, taken by hundreds of senior Zanu-PF officials in Harare on Saturday, leaves Mr Mugabe in a significantly weakened position after he refused to step down following last week's military takeover.

Zimbabweans have taken to the streets in their thousands to demand the resignation of the veteran autocrat, who has ruled the country since 1980.

As the motion was passed to oust the veteran autocrat, members of the central committee leapt to their feet cheering and chanting Mnangagwa's name before breaking into celebratory song and dance.

Robert Mugabe removed as leader of Zimbabwe's ruling party

“This is the day that is defining the new birth and development of our country,” said Mike Madiro, chair of one of the provincial party branches that had formally set the process of ousting Mugabe in motion.

A second round of talks between Mugabe and the army commanders who led the military takeover stalled on Sunday.

Mr Mnangagwa is widely expected to take over as President when Mr Mugabe finally leaves office with the military saying it has no intention of remaining in power. As Mr Mugabe's henchman, he former intelligence chief was responsible for oppressing opposition parties in successive elections between 2000 and 2008.

Mr Mugabe remains under house arrest at his palatial residence in Harare and maintains that the bloodless takeover is illegal. His stated ambition had been to remain as President until his 100th birthday, having ruled the country for almost four decades with widespread corruption at the heart of his government.

Support for Mr Mugabe has waned in recent years in key branches of the security establishment, including the police, following years of bribery where loyalty was often paid for. The coup is believed to have been motivated in part by widepread opposition to the ambitions of Grace Mugabe to succeed her husband as President.

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