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Mugabe adamant





Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is still hanging on to power despite being sacked by his party as leader, losing the support of the military and with a public rally against him.

He was expected to announce his resignation but in a live TV address, on Zimbabwe Broadcasting (ZBC0, he said the country needed to move forward and resolve the differences “between the generations”.

He said he would preside over the party’s congress in December where they will “collectively start process that returns our nation to normalcy”.

“We cannot be guided by bitterness or vengeful both of which would not make any better party members or any better Zimbabweans”, he added.

The address came after talks with the head of the armed forces, General Constantino Chiwenga who had placed him and his wife Grace under house arrest.

ZANU-PF had given the 93-year-old less than 24 hours to quit as head of state or face impeachment, an attempt to secure a peaceful end to his tenure after a de facto coup.

Mugabe said in the address on state television that he acknowledged criticism against him from ZANU-PF, the military and the public, but did not comment on the possibility of standing down.

Earlier yesterday, Zanu-PF, held a meeting of its central committee where they removed him as the head of the party and warned that he must resign or face impeachment.

Mr Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since the end of white-minority rule in 1980, was to be in talks with the head of the armed forces, General Constantino Chiwenga, to negotiate the terms of his resignation.

It is unclear what deal he has agreed and whether this will include protection from prosecution for him or his wife, Grace.

The takeover was sparked by the denouncement of Emmerson Mnangagwa, the former vice-president and Mr Mugabe’s former protegee, earlier this month.

The Mugabes said Mr Mnangagwa, who fled to South Africa but has since returned had shown “traits of disloyalty, disrepect, deceitfulness and unreliability” but some have said it was a ploy to make way for Grace to succeed her husband as president.

“He has been expelled,” one of the delegates said. “Mnangagwa is our new leader.”

Mugabe’s wife Grace, who had harbored ambitions of succeeding Mugabe, was also expelled from the party.

Speaking before the meeting, war veterans’ leader Chris Mutsvangwa said the 93-year-old Mugabe was running out of time to negotiate his departure and should leave the country while he could.

“He’s trying to bargain for a dignified exit,” he said.

Mutsvangwa followed up with threat to call for street protests if Mugabe refused to go, telling reporters: “We will bring back the crowds and they will do their business.”

Mnangagwa, a former state security chief known as “The Crocodile,” is now in line to head an interim post-Mugabe unity government that will focus on rebuilding ties with the outside world and stabilizing an economy in freefall.

On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people flooded the streets of Harare, singing, dancing and hugging soldiers in an outpouring of elation at Mugabe’s expected overthrow.

His stunning downfall in just four days 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 quit.


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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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