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"The President Is Gone" – Zimbabwe Ruling Party Officially Ousts Mugabe

Update 3: After a meeting with military officials, Mugabe’s resignation appears imminent…

 

 

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Update 2: Mugabe, who remains under house arrest, is meeting with the commanders of the country’s military shortly after lawmakers approved an ultimatum for the long-time strongman to either resign, or be forced…

 

 

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Update: Initial media reports about Mugabe’s ouster were confusing: While the country’s ruling party had voted to expel him, several sources quoted by western media outlets said the vote was only the trigger to start the process of removing Mugabe, and that he is still technically president of Zimbabwe. 

Fortunately, the ruling Zanu-PF party has issued a quick clarification: Mugabe – who has obstinantly refused to officially abdicate in accordance with the military’s demands – has until noon tomorrow to resign. If he doesn’t, he will be impeached.

 

Zimbabwe’s ruling party confirmed the news in a tweet…

 

 

 

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A day after thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Harare to celebrate the imminent removal of Robert Mugabe, the country’s 93-year-old dictator who’d been effectively deposed during a surprise coup earlier this week, the country’s ruling party has officially voted to remove him from office and install his former deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, as interim leader.

As we’ve pointed out, Mugabe triggered his own downfall when he fired Mnangagwa last week to try and clear a path for his much-younger wife, Grace, to succeed him as leader of Zimbabwe. Mugabe tried to appoint his 52-year-old wife to Mnangagwa’s former position, which would’ve positioned her to be his successor. However, Mnangagwa’s sudden ouster outraged the leaders of Zimbabwe’s military, who decided to intervene and place Mugabe under house arrest.

Mugabe had resisted the military’s request to step down, so on Friday, the country’s 10 provincial committees resolved to oust Mugabe. That decision was ratified Sunday at a meeting of Zimbabwe’s central executives, according to the head of the country’s influential liberation war veterans.

Meanwhile, ABC reported that Mugabe’s wife Grace – who reportedly fled the country after the coup – has been officially expelled by ZANU-PF, the ruling party. Veterans leader Chris Mutsvangwa said now that Mugabe’s ouster is official, processes to remove the 93-year-old as President could now begin.

Attendants at the meeting sang and danced in celebration after unanimously voting to remove Mugabe.

 

 

After the vote, members of the central committee started singing “Chengetedza” by Jah Prayzah, a popular Zimbabwean musician. According to local media, the song has become an anthem for the de facto anthem of the movement to oust Mugabe.

 

 

Before voting, members of Zimbabwe’s central committee sung the national anthem.

 

 

According to one BBC reporter, journalists were asked to leave the room after the vote as the party set about formalizing the decision.

 

    In his opening remarks at a meeting of ZANU-PF’s Central Committee, Obert Mpofu, the official chairing the gathering, said the party had come together with “a heavy heart,” adding that Mugabe’s wife, Grace, and others in his orbit had taken advantage of his age and feebleness to loot the country’s national resources. Mpofu then hailed the beginning of “a new era, not only for our party but for our nation Zimbabwe,” according to ABC.    

Mpofu said Mugabe was responsible for “many memorable achievements.”

Mugabe, who remains under house arrest, was reportedly supposed to meet Sunday with the military for a second round of talks to negotiate his departure. It’s unclear if this meeting has taken place.

While Zimbabwe lawmakers have voted to begin the process of Mugabe’s ouster, he technically remains the president of Zimbabwe. However, the vote greatly increases the pressure on him to abdicate, the BBC reported.

Veterans leader Mutsvangwa expressed his excitement over Mugabe’s ouster in an interview with local media.

“The president is gone! Long live the new president!”

 

 

Shortly before the vote, local media captured this iconic video of demonstrators tearing down a billboard advertising the Zimbabwe Youth League, a pro-Mugabe group.

 

 

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since the country won its independence from the UK in 1980. Under his watch, the economy has imploded, leaving 95 percent of the workforce unemployed, according to Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions estimates, and forcing as many as 3 million people into exile.

While Zimbabwe’s ruling party led the effort to oust Mugabe, opposition lawmakers had threatened to begin impeachment proceedings if he was not swiftly removed, according to Fox News.

“If Mugabe is not gone by Tuesday, then as sure as the sun rises from the east, impeachment process will kick in,” said Innocent Gonese, a member of the opposition MDC-T party.

Hope for a better future crested on Sunday. But whether life will measurably improve for the people of Zimbabwe remains to be seen…

 

 

 

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