19 November 2017

Zimbabwe: President Robert Mugabe Removed As Zanu-PF Party Leader

With Robert Mugabe's political days numbered, the ZANU-PF party meeting Sunday morning put another nail in his coffin. He was dumped as party leader and his wife has been expelled from the party.

The central committee of Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party has expelled President Robert Mugabe as party leader.

The party also announced that it has appointed Emmerson Mnangagwa in his place. Further, Mugabe's deeply unpopular wife, Grace has been thrown out of the party.

A day after the country erupted with joy at the prospect of an end to the Mugabe era, formal steps are being taken to remove him from office. A party committee meeting is currently underway, with leading members of the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) to discuss the expulsion of President Robert Mugabe as party leader.

The meeting comes ahead of a second round of talks between Mugabe and the army commander on finding a dignified end to the aged-ruler's presidency.

Chris Mutsvangwa, who led the campaign to get rid of Mugabe, said that the party meeting's agenda also includes reinstating former vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and removing the president's wife, Grace Mugabe, as head of the ZANU-PF Women's League.

"We are going all the way," Mutsvangwa told the Reuters news agency on his way into the meeting, also saying that he thinks Mugabe should just resign and leave the country. "He's trying to bargain for a dignified exit but he should just smell the coffee and gap it."

Support crumbles

Former Mugabe supporters are turning from the beleaguered nonagenarian in droves. The influential ZANU youth league issued a statement on Sunday calling on Mugabe to step down, and for his wife, Grace, to be thrown out of the party.

The Youth League has previously been extremely loyal to Mugabe, but now says he should resign "so that he can rest as the elderly statesman he is."

Impeachment set for next week

Zimbabwe's main opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change - Tsvangirai (MDC-T) has said it will "definitely" put in process a motion to impeach Mugabe, adding that there have been discussions with the ruling ZANZ-PF party.

MDC-T party member, Innocent Gonese, told the Associated Press news agency, "If Mugabe is not gone by Tuesday, then as sure as the sun rises from the east, [the] impeachment process will kick in."

Departure talks with military

Zimbabwean officials have not revealed any details about the talks scheduled for Sunday, but it is alleged that the military would prefer Mugabe to voluntarily resign for the sake of creating a veneer of legality in the leadership handover.

There is speculation that Mugabe may be using whatever power he has left to try to preserve his legacy as one of the leaders of Africa's liberation, or perhaps to protect himself and his family from prosecution.

The talks are believed to be going ahead without the South African delegation that was involved in the first round. South Africa's President, Jacob Zuma, on Saturday described the negotiations as being in the "early days."

Next Tuesday, the southern African regional bloc will be holding a four-country summit in Angola to discuss the political situation in Zimbabwe.

cl/jlw (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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