Sunday 19 November 2017

Zimbabwe's Ruling Party To Sack Robert Mugabe On Sunday - Dismiss The President’s Preferred Successor, Grace Mugabe

Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party is expected to meet on Sunday to sack Robert Mugabe and reinstate the vice-president he dismissed, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

A party central committee meeting scheduled for 8.30am UK time would also dismiss the president’s preferred successor, his wife Grace, from her role as head of the party’s women’s league, Reuters reported.

Mugabe’s 37-year rule has been effectively at an end since the army seized control in the early hours of Wednesday, confining him to his residence.

Shortly after news of Sunday’s meeting emerged, a motorcade left Mugabe’s official residence in Harare to the jeers of onlookers, although it was unclear if he was inside.

Marchers had massed outside his home on Saturday, revelling in their freedom to voice anger at decades of misrule as well as hope for a better future for Zimbabwe. Many waved the national flag, chanting and singing. Some embraced soldiers or posed with them for selfies. The march had been sanctioned by the military.

Euphoric crowds filled streets in the capital on Saturday morning and cars honked their horns calling for the veteran leader to step down.

“These are tears of joy,” said Frank Mutsindikwa, 34, holding aloft the Zimbabwean flag. “I’ve been waiting all my life for this day. Free at last. We are free at last.”

There were similar scenes in the southern city of Bulawayo, as well as abroad, where diaspora Zimbabweans held their own rallies.

In the early afternoon, some headed towards the Zimbabwean president’s sprawling mansion in the wealthy neighbourhood of Borrowdale.

They were responding to a call from a leader of the powerful liberation war veterans.

“Let us now go and deliver the message that grandfather Mugabe and his typist-cum-wife should go home,” the war veterans association secretary general, Victor Matemadanda, told the marchers at a rally.

Despite mounting pressure, Mugabe has refused demands to leave office.

Relatives say the veteran autocrat and his wife Grace are “ready to die for what is correct” and had no intention of stepping down in order to legitimise this week’s military coup.

Speaking to Reuters from a secret location in South Africa, Patrick Zhuwao, Mugabe’s nephew, said on Saturday that his uncle had hardly slept since the military seized power, but his health was otherwise good.

The military and senior officials within the ruling Zanu-PF party now appear set on forcing Mugabe, the only ruler Zimbabwe has known since independence in 1980, to step down within 48 hours.

Few options are open to the veteran autocrat, who has ruled Zimbabwe through a mixture of coercion, bribery and revolutionary rhetoric for nearly four decades. Support in some branches of the security establishment – such as the police – has evaporated and many political supporters have been detained.

The march will demonstrate popular support for the takeover and a return to democracy. However, it is moves within Zanu-PF may prove the decisive factor in forcing Mugabe to step down.

All 10 of the country’s provincial Zanu-PF branches have passed motions of no confidence in the president. These could lead to Mugabe being stripped of office by Sunday, one official told the Guardian.

The state broadcaster ran a headline, “Zanu-PF call for Mugabe to step down”, which would have been unthinkable a week ago, underlining the pace of change in the small southern African state.

Earlier on Friday, Mugabe, who had been confined to his residence since the takeover, attended a university graduation ceremony on the outskirts of Harare.

Clad in academic gown and hat, he walked slowly in a procession on a red carpet to a podium as a marching band played. He was applauded as he announced the opening of the ceremony.

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