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20 November 2017

Zimbabwe’s Mugabe misses deadline to resign

By Associated Press

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Longtime President Robert Mugabe ignored a midday deadline set by the ruling party to step down or face impeachment proceedings, while Zimbabweans stunned by his defiance during a national address vowed more protests to make him leave.

The ruling party’s Central Committee was meeting to discuss impeachment of the 93-year-old Mugabe, the world’s oldest head of state, after 37 years in power. Amid the political confusion, the government urged Cabinet ministers to pursue business as usual.

“Arrogant Mugabe disregards Zanu PF,” one newspaper headline said.

Opposition activists and the influential liberation war veterans association announced more demonstrations to pressure Mugabe to go.

“Your time is up,” veterans association leader Chris Mutsvangwa said at a press conference.

He also suggested that the military, even though it put Mugabe under house arrest days ago, was still beholden to him and compelled to protect him because he is officially their “commander in chief.”

Zimbabweans were astonished that Mugabe, flanked by the military in his national address Sunday night, did not announce his resignation as expected after the military and the ruling party turned on him.

The war veterans’ association will go to court to argue that Mugabe is “derelict of his executive duty,” Mutsvangwa said.

Some ruling party members said an impeachment process likely wouldn’t lead to Mugabe’s immediate resignation and could take days to complete. Mugabe was stripped of his party leadership on Sunday by the Central Committee of the ruling ZANU-PF but said in his speech he would preside over a party congress next month.

The congress is expected to ratify his firing as party chief, the expulsion of the unpopular first lady and the naming of Mugabe’s recently fired deputy to succeed him.

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