World News

Zimbabwe: Overwhelming Support for Mugabe Impeachment - Zanu-PF Chief Whip

Zimbabwe: Overwhelming Support for Mugabe Impeachment - Zanu-PF Chief Whip

Mugabe baffled the nation Sunday night when he did not resign as expected during his speech on the state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has defied expectations by not resigning, but the 93-year-old veteran leader could now face an impeachment process initiated by his own party.

His address provoked immediate anger. "The removal of Mugabe and his cabal was to enable us to go to elections as a strong force after some rogue elements had infiltrated the party".

But their joy quickly turned to despair as Mugabe seemed to brush aside the turmoil - blithely declaring he would chair a top-level meeting of the party that had just disavowed him.

He said he acknowledged criticism against him from Zanu-PF, the military and the public, but did not comment on the possibility of standing down.

The war veterans association which organised the mass rallies and marches against Robert Mugabe at the weekend are taking a different tack, asking the high court to remove him for dereliction of his executive duty.

The announcement Mr Mugabe was being removed as leader drew cheers from the 200 delegates packed into Zanu-PF's Harare headquarters.

The crisis erupted on November 13 after a factional squabble over the presidential succession erupted into the open.

Mugabe's 52-year-old wife Grace has also been booted out from the party over accusations of "preaching hate, divisiveness and assuming roles and powers not delegated to the office".

But Mnangagwa, 75, has close ties to the army and the powerful war veterans.

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The army insisted it was not a military coup, but rather an operation to root out "criminals around (Mugabe) who are committing crimes".

The controversial first lady used to be her husband's secretary as well.

When Mugabe refused to step down following behind-the-scenes talks, the generals unleashed people power.

Mugabe, who has been leading Zimbabwe for 37 years, has been under increasing pressure to relinquish power following a surprise military takeover earlier this week.

"Whatever the pros and cons of the way they went about registering those concerns, I as the president of Zimbabwe and their commander -in-chief do acknowledge the issues they have drawn my attention to and I do believe that these were raised in the spirit of honesty and out of deep and patriotic concern of the stability of our nation and for the welfare of our people".

Pretoria businessman Given Masanidze said after the "successful protests", Mugabe's speech on Sunday evening came as a shock. In fact, they don't deal with impeachment at all.

In order for Mnangagwa to take over, the army would first have to persuade Mugabe to reappoint him.

He took office as prime minister in 1980, surfing a wave of goodwill, and later became president.

But his reputation was swiftly tarnished by his authoritarian instincts, rights abuses and economic ineptitude.


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