Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was fired as leader of the ruling ZANU-PF party on Sunday and replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the deputy he sacked this month, according to sources at a special ZANU-PF meeting to decide Mugabe’s fate.
“He has been expelled,” one of delegates told Reuters.
“Mnangagwa is our new leader.” Three other delegates confirmed Mugabe’s dismissal.
A party source also said the president’s wife, Grace Mugabe, has been expelled from the party. Grace became head of the ZANU-PF Women’s League in 2014, giving her a seat at the party’s top table.
Grace Mugabe, 52, was reported to have been placed under house arrest in the capital, Harare, last Wednesday, along with her 93-year-old husband.
Without the military’s intervention last week, she likely would have replaced Mnangagwa as vice president and been in a position to succeed her husband.
Impeaching Robert Mugabe is another step when parliament resumes on Tuesday, and legislators will “definitely” put the process in motion, the main opposition’s parliamentary chief whip told The Associated Press.
Innocent Gonese with the MDC-T party said they had been in discussions with the ruling ZANU-PF party to act jointly.
“If Mugabe is not gone by Tuesday, then as sure as the sun rises from the east, impeachment process will kick in,” Gonese said.
Mugabe’s talks with army commander Constantino Chiwenga, meanwhile, were underway Sunday. They were the second round of negotiations on an exit as the military tries to avoid accusations of staging a coup.
Zimbabwean officials have not revealed details of the talks, but the military appears to favour a voluntary resignation by Mugabe — after nearly four decades in power — to maintain a veneer of legality in the political transition.
Mugabe, in turn, could be using whatever leverage he has left to try to preserve his legacy as one of Africa’s liberation leaders or even protect himself and his family from possible prosecution.
Chris Mutsvangwa, head of the country’s liberation war veterans, said he was concerned that the military could end up opening fire to protect Mugabe from protesters. He vowed to “bring back the crowd” if the president didn’t step aside.
“We would expect that Mugabe would not have the prospect of the military shooting at people, trying to defend him,” Mutsvangwa said. “The choice is his.”