Zimbabwe’s ruling party has sacked Robert Mugabe as its leader, as pressure intensifies for him to step down as president. Zanu-PF appointed ex-Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was fired by Mr Mugabe two weeks ago, in his place.
The party has given Mr Mugabe until 10:00 GMT on Monday to resign as president, or face impeachment. The first lady, Grace Mugabe, and several other senior officials have been expelled from the party altogether.
Zimbabwe was set for more political turmoil November 18 with protests planned as veterans of the independence war, activists and ruling party leaders called publicly for Zimbabwe’s President to be forced from office.
Even in the West, he was renowned in his early years as the “Thinking Man’s Guerrilla”, an ironic nickname for a man who would later proudly declare he held a “degree in violence”. As the economy crumbled and political opposition to his rule grew in the late 1990s, Mugabe showed his true colours, seizing thousands of white-owned farms, detaining opponents and unleashing security forces to crush dissent.
As the vote was announced, war veteran’s leader Chris Mutsvangwa, who has spearheaded an 18-month campaign to remove a man he openly described as a “dictator”, embraced colleagues and shouted: “The President is gone.
Long live the new President.” Mugabe’s 52-year-old wife Grace, who had harbored ambitions of succeeding her husband, was also expelled from the party, along with at least three cabinet ministers who had formed the backbone of her ‘G40’ political faction.
Speaking before the meeting, Mutsvangwa said Mugabe, who has so far resisted calls to quit, 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.
If Mugabe refused to go, “We will bring back the crowds and they will do their business,” Mutsvangwa told reporters. Mnangagwa, a former state security chief known as “The Crocodile,” is expected to head an interim post-Mugabe unity government that will focus on rebuilding ties with the outside world and stabilising an economy in freefall.
Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans attended street protests on Saturday, demonstrating against the Mugabes.
BY FRIDAY UCHE UZODINMA