Robert Mugabe vows to stay on

BBC:-Zimbabwe’s embattled leader Robert Mugabe has vowed to stay in power for several weeks, despite mounting calls for him to stand down now.

In a live TV address, Mr Mugabe said he would preside over the ruling party’s congress in December.

The Zanu-PF earlier sacked him as party leader, and gave him less than 24 hours to resign as president or be impeached.

His grip on power has weakened since the military intervened on Wednesday, in a row over who should succeed him.

The crisis began when the 93-year-old president sacked his deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, two weeks ago, angering army commanders who saw it as an attempt to position his wife as his successor.

Earlier on Sunday, Mr Mnangagwa was named as Zanu-PF’s new leader and candidate for the 2018 general elections.

At the same party meeting, Mr Mugabe’s 52-year-old wife, Grace, was expelled from the party, alongside a number of other senior officials.

But in his speech later in the day, Mr Mugabe made no direct mention of those developments.

“The (ruling Zanu-PF) party congress is due in a few weeks and I will preside over its processes,” he told the nation, flanked by senior military generals at his official residence in Harare. He spoke slowly, occasionally stumbling over his words.

President Mugabe acknowledged criticism from Zanu-PF, the military and public, and stressed the need to return Zimbabwe to normalcy.

“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, in reference to the army’s move last week to take over the state broadcaster.

He said their actions had not violated the constitution, but he did not mention any possibility of resigning.

Tens of thousands had joined huge demonstrations on Saturday, with many believing he was about to step down.

It is not entirely clear how Robert Mugabe can preside over Zanu-PF’s congress next month, following his dismissal as party leader.

Party positions are officially decided at the congress and Emmerson Mnangagwa may officially take over leading the country then.

Mr Mnangagwa, a former state security chief, is nicknamed “the crocodile” for his perceived shrewdness. He fled Zimbabwe after his sacking a fortnight ago, but has since reportedly returned.

 

BREAKING: Tropical Depression Forms in AtlanticRead
+ +