20, November 2017
Speaking while under house arrest, Zimbabwe’s embattled President Robert Mugabe has shocked the nation by making no mention of resignation despite a military takeover and a looming noon deadline set by his own party for him to cede power.
The 93-year old president delivered a 20-minute address Sunday on live television, hours after his Zanu-PF Party sacked him and urged the leader to step down by noon (1000 GMT) on Monday or face impeachment.
Zimbabweans, who widely expected Mugabe to announce his resignation in the address, had gathered in public places across the capital, Harare, to watch the speech.
However, much to their disbelief, Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe for nearly four decades, offered no concessions to his opponents, and even pledged to preside over a special Zanu-PF congress scheduled for next month.
The president acknowledged criticism from Zanu-PF, the military and public, but said the events of last week were not “a challenge to my authority as head of state and government.”
“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.
The long-running president stressed the need to return normality to the African state, but made no mention of demands from the public and from his own party, to resign as president.
Angered by the speech, Chris Mutsvangwa, head of the influential war veterans’ association, said plans to impeach Mugabe in parliament would now go ahead, and that there would be mass protests on Wednesday.
“That speech has nothing to do with realities,” he said, calling on people to go back to the streets.
Both houses of Zimbabwe’s parliament are due to convene on Tuesday for a debate over the impeachment bid, which would require a two-thirds majority in both chambers.
The political crisis began in the South African county after Mugabe sacked his vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, two weeks ago.
The sudden move angered army commanders and led to the military takeover last week. The commanders considered Mugabe’s sudden decision as an attempt to position his wife, Grace Mugabe, as his successor.
She has not been seen since the takeover.
It was thought that the army had managed to take power in a “bloodless transition” coup, but it insists that it has no intention of taking permanent control of government and that it is an operation to root out “criminals around (Mugabe) who are committing crimes.”
Mnangagwa, who was appointed interim leader of the Zanu-PF, is widely expected to take over from Mugabe as president.
Culled from Presstv