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Zimbabwe’s Mugabe faces looming resignation deadline

Zimbabwe’s embattled President Robert Mugabe is facing a deadline set by his own party to resign, after a surprise speech in which he refused to quit.

Zanu-PF, which has stripped Mr Mugabe of the party’s leadership, says it back impeachment if he does not step down by 12:00 local time (10:00 GMT) on Monday.

Proceedings could begin as soon as Tuesday when parliament meets.

Mr Mugabe’s grip on power has weakened since the army intervened on Wednesday, in a row over who should succeed him.

The crisis began two weeks ago when the 93-year-old leader sacked his deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, angering army commanders who saw it as an attempt to position his wife Grace as next president.

Zimbabwe has since then seen huge street rallies, with demonstrators, including the country’s influential war veterans, demanding his immediate resignation.

War veterans leader Chris Mutsvangwa said on Monday that he would go to court in an attempt to legalise the military action against Mr Mugabe, and called for more protests against the leader’s intention to cling to power.

“We want to see his back now,” Mr Mutsvangwa said. “Mugabe, your rule is over. The emperor has no clothes. Thank you very much.”

During the 20-minute address, the president, who was flanked by generals, made no mention of the pressure from his party and the public to quit.

Instead, he declared that the military had done nothing wrong by seizing power and placing him under house arrest.

“Whatever the pros and cons of how they [the army] went about their operation, I, as commander-in-chief, do acknowledge their concerns,” he said, in reference to the army’s move last week to take over the state broadcaster in the capital Harare.

He also said “the [Zanu-PF] party congress is due in a few weeks and I will preside over its processes”.

Before Mr Mugabe’s speech, Mr Mnangagwa was named as Zanu-PF’s new leader and candidate for the 2018 general elections, while Mr Mugabe’s wife was expelled.

 

 

 

Source: BBC

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