The ruling party in Zimbabwe “Zanu-PF” has wielded the dismissal rod on the country’s long-time leader, Robert Mugabe; giving him until noon on Monday to resign as president or face impeachment by parliament.
After an extraordinary meeting of party leaders held in Harare on Sunday, officials said ex-Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was fired by Mr. Mugabe two weeks ago, has been appointed leader of the party.
It is understood that more than 200 Zanu-PF leaders voted to sack Mugabe as the party’s leader and demanded that the 93 year old “resign forthwith from his position as head of state”.
When the motion was passed, removing Mugabe from the head of the party and appointing Mnangagwa to replace him, the hall of Zanu-PF delegates broke into cheers, song and dance, a source said.
The 200 or so members of the central committee leapt to their feet, many singing Mnangagwa’s name.
“This is the day that is defining the new birth and development of our country,” said Mike Madiro, chairman of one of the provincial party branches that had formally set Mugabe’s dethroning in motion.
The move by his own party significantly weakens the position of Mugabe, who has refused to step down following a military takeover last week, despite huge demonstrations in cities across the country on Saturday demanding that he leaves power.
It was learnt that the sacking of Mr. Mnangagwa was what triggered last week’s takeover of power by the military, thus stopping Mr. Mugabe, 93, from installing his wife, Grace, as leader of Zanu-PF and then president.
Grace was also expelled from the Zanu-PF at Sunday’s meeting.
Zimbabwe’s parliament will reconvene on Tuesday after a week-long suspension and will launch impeachment proceedings immediately if the president has not resigned, MPs said.
The procedure is unprecedented, and it is unclear how long it might take.