Robert Mugabe may be about to be forced from power by his own comrades, as the Zimbabwe crisis drags into its second week.
The 93-year-old veteran leader was expected to announce his resignation over the weekend, following pressure from the army and his own party. But he shocked both the country and the world by apparently refusing to do so, and clinging on to power.
That refusal came amid a long and rambling TV address to the country, during which he was expected to hand over the reins.
Now his party, Zanu-PF is expected to opt instead to force him out. It is thought to be pursuing legal routes of doing so, meaning that the president could very soon be impeached.
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The Independent's Kim Sengupta is on the ground in Harare, as the quickly changing and often confusing events unfold. Here he clears up exactly what is happening, as of this morning
Mugabe just failed to resignThe IndependentAn extraordinary day in Zimbabwe’s turbulent political crisis ended with Robert Mugabe refusing to resign and vowing to carry on as head of state despite being officially stripped of the leadership by his own party. The President is now in direct confrontation with parliament as well as the military. He was given an ultimatum by Zanu-PF, after being removed from office, that he would face impeachment unless he resigned by midday on Monday.
A poster circulating in Zimbabwe's capital is calling on citizens to rally on Saturday to "remove Mugabe from power." Calls for the solidarity march to the State House say both the military and the opposition are supporting it. "We can't have a 93-year-old person ruling more than 15 million people," the poster says. Those encouraging participation in Saturday's rally include pastor Evan Mawarire, whose (hash)ThisFlag social media campaign last year led to the largest anti-government protests in a decade.
The war veterans who are trying to unseat Mugabe claim to know how he managed not to stand down during the address yesterday.“We were disappointed yesterday in the midst of all those generals he appeared to swap” the speeches around so that he read one that didn't announce he was stepping down, said Chris Mutsvangwa.But it was also reported that Mugabe has actually signed his resignation letter, and that with it will come a whole range of terms – including immunity for both him and his wife, according to reports.
Zimbabwe's ruling party members have been summoned to a meeting on Monday afternoon as talk of impeaching longtime President Robert Mugabe continues, according to the country's state-run broadcaster..Mr Mugabe ignored a midday deadline by the party's central committee to resign.He now faces impeachment when parliament resumes on Tuesday.Meanwhile, government ministers are being urged to go about their work as usual as the political confusion continues.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has lost the support of the people, a spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday, while urging a peaceful and swift resolution to the uncertain political situation there."We don't yet know how developments in Zimbabwe are going to play out but what does appear clear is that Mugabe has lost the support of the people and of his party," the spokesman said.
It might all look sewn up for Mugabe, and his impeachment might seem inevitable. But it might not be that simple, writes Kim Sengupta from Harare.
Zanu PF has tabled its motion to impeach Mugabe – one that's expected to pass. It accuses the president of bringing about instability by dismissing members of his cabinet.
Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF will discuss the impeachment of President Robert Mugabe on Monday, its chief whip said, after a noon deadline expired for the 93-year-old to resign and bring the curtain down on nearly four decades in power.Impeachment could see Mugabe kicked out by a vote in parliament in under a day and would represent an ignominious end to the career of the "Grand Old Man" of African politics, who was once lauded across the continent as an anti-colonial hero.Chief whip Lovemore Matuke told Reuters ZANU-PF members of parliament would meet at 1230 GMT to start mapping out Mugabe's impeachment.In the draft motion, the party accused Mugabe of being a "source of instability", flouting the rule of law and presiding over an "unprecedented economic tailspin" in the last 15 years.It also said he had abrogated his constitutional mandate to his hot-headed and unpopular 52-year-old wife Grace, whose tilt at power triggered the backlash from the army that saw it put tanks on the streets of the capital last week.On paper, the process is relatively long-winded, involving a joint sitting of the Senate and National Assembly, then a nine-member committee of senators, then another joint sitting to confirm his dismissal with a two-thirds majority.However, constitutional experts said ZANU-PF had the numbers and could push it through in as little as 24 hours."They can fast-track it. It can be done in a matter of a day," said John Makamure, executive director of the Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust, an NGO that works with the parliament in Harare.Mugabe's demise, now almost inevitable, is likely to send shockwaves across Africa, where a number of entrenched strongmen from Uganda's Yoweri Museveni to Democratic Republic of Congo's Joseph Kabila are facing mounting pressure to step aside.Mugabe was once admired, even in the West, as the "Thinking Man's Guerrilla", a world away from his image in his latter years as the stereotypical African dictator proudly declaring he held a "degree in violence".As the economy crumbled and opposition to his rule grew in the late 1990s, Mugabe tightened his grip around the southern African country, seizing white-owned farms, unleashing security forces to crush dissent and speaking of ruling until he was 100.SANITISED COUPZANU-PF's action follows a weekend of high drama in Harare that culminated in reports Mugabe had agreed to stand down -- only for him to dash the hopes of millions of his countrymen in a bizarre and rambling national address on Sunday night.Flanked by the generals who sent in troops last week to seize the state broadcaster, Mugabe spoke of the need for national unity and farming reform, but made no mention of his fate, leaving the nation of 16 million people dumbstruck."I am baffled. It's not just me, it's the whole nation," shocked opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai told Reuters. "He's playing a game."Two senior government sources told Reuters Mugabe had agreed on Sunday to step aside and CNN said on Monday his resignation letter had been drawn up, with terms that included immunity for him and Grace.Two other political sources told Reuters on Monday Mugabe had indeed agreed to resign but ZANU-PF did not want him to quit in front of the military, an act that would have made its mid-week intervention look like a coup."It would have looked extremely bad if he had resigned in front of those generals. It would have created a huge amount of mess," one senior source within ZANU-PF said.Another political source said the speech was meant to "sanitise" the military's action, which has paved the way for Mnangagwa, a former security chief known as The Crocodile, to take over.
The Zimbabwe state broadcaster is in a state of "standby" ahead of an "expected broadcast by the military", which will presumably offer at least some clarity on what's going on, according to Reuters.
Zimbabwe's state-run Herald newspaper has tweeted photos of longtime President Robert Mugabe meeting for a second time with the army commander who put him under house arrest days ago. Mugabe is said to be seeking more time as talks continue on his departure after nearly four decades in power. But the ruling party is impatient to see him leave, saying Mugabe must resign as president by noon Monday or face impeachment proceedings. The military has been trying to give the departure a veneer of legality to avoid accusations of a coup. The Herald report gives no details on the meeting's outcome.
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