By Kuda Chideme and Alfonce Mbizwo, HARARE, November 19 (The Source) – Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party has given President Robert Mugabe up to Monday midday to resign as head of state or face impeachment in Parliament.
A special session of the party’s central committee was held at the party headquarters and resolved to remove Mugabe as the party’s leader, replacing him with Emmerson Mnangagwa, the deputy who was fired by Mugabe earlier this month, in the interim.
The committee also elected Mnangagwa the party’s presidential candidate for the 2018 general elections.
The 93-year-old Mugabe’s dismissal has been expected after a disaffected military took control of the country last Tuesday in a de facto coup.The military has denied a coup and sought to have Mugabe removed through legal channels while confining him to his private residence.
Mugabe met military chiefs on Sunday for a second round of negotiations to get him to quit, according to the state-owned Herald newspaper, which posted pictures on its twitter page.
Party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo told journalists on Sunday that Mugabe, Africa’s oldest leader who always seemed to have an iron grip on the country in his 37-year rule, was removed from the position of President and first secretary of the party by a unanimous vote.
“Robert Mugabe should resign forthwith from the position of head of state and in the event that resignation would not have been tendered by midday Monday the ZANU-PF chief whip was ordered to institute proceedings for the removal of the President in terms of Section 97 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” he said.
Obert Mpofu, who chaired the meeting said the ‘party shall never again allow such undemocratic procedures in the conduct of its business’.
“We have seen democracy at play, the people have spoken. He has been our leader for a long time and we have all learnt from him. It is a sad page that he has to leave in such a manner. It is unfortunate that he had surrounded himself with a cabal bent on reversing the gains of our liberation struggle,” said Mpofu
Vice president Phelekezela Mphoko and Mugabe’s wife Grace were expelled also from the party.
Also expelled were Ignatius Chombo, Patrick Zhuwao, Jonathan Moyo, Kudzanai Chipanga, Paul Chimedza, Mandi Chimene, Walter Mzembi, Samuel and Letina Undenge.
Other members that were fired include Makhosini Hlongwane, Sandi Moyo, Anastacia Ndlovu, Tongai and Saviour Kasukuwere.
The committee also resolved that members of the party who were fired from the party subsequent to the 2014 congress be reinstated.
National broadcaster ZBC on Sunday said Mugabe, who has so far resisted pressure to quit, would meet military commanders on Sunday, along with a mediation team of a Catholic priest, the acting head of intelligence and Mugabe’s private secretary, George Charamba.
The leader of the influential veterans of the country’s war of liberation, Chris Mutsvangwa told Reuters as he walked into the extraordinary meeting of ZANU-PF’s central committee, Chris Mutsvangwa said Mugabe was running out of time to negotiate his departure and should leave the country while he could.
“We are going all the way,” Mutsvangwa said. “He’s trying to bargain for a dignified exit.”