Published: Tue, November 21, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Zimbabwe's ruling party to hold rally as anti-Mugabe tide rises

Zimbabwe's ruling party to hold rally as anti-Mugabe tide rises

In a letter read on his behalf, Mugabe agreed to leave power in "immediate effect" days after refusing to step down from his position.

The surprise announcement halted an impeachment hearing that had begun against him.

In the streets outside, crowds erupted in rapturous celebrations, dancing and cheering in joy, some raising their fists and waving Zimbabwean flags.

It capped an unprecedented week in which the military seized control, tens of thousands of Zimbabwean citizens took to the streets to demand the president go and 93-year-old Mugabe wrestled to remain in power.

This Ninety three yr old Mugabe continues to be under household arrest within his luxurious "Blue-Roof" compound inside Harare, where he's been watching support of his Zanu-PF group, personal security services and supporters vanish in under 72 hours.

In scenes reminiscent of the downfall of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989, men, women and children ran alongside the armored cars and troops who stepped in this week to oust the man who has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980.

The military has said it has no intention of staying in power and, according to the constitution, Mnangagwa should now take the place of Mugabe as head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

Mugabe shocked many on Sunday when he was expected to resign, but instead gave what many considered a freaky speech that focused on the country's unity while ignoring protests that had taken place the previous day. "Only god will remove me!" he screamed after being expelled on Sunday from Zanu-PF, the political party he had led for decades.

- November 21: After the deadline passes without Mugabe resigning, Zimbabwe's parliament gathers to start the impeachment process, with lawmakers from across the spectrum calling on the president to quit.

Earlier Tuesday, Mnangagwa said in a statement that Mugabe should acknowledge the nation's "insatiable desire" for a leadership change and resign immediately.

"Gucci" Grace, as the 52-year-old is known, is also facing prosecution over her sprees using public cash and ordering purges of rivals.

Mnangagwa, a former justice and defense minister, added to the pressure on Mugabe to quit after a long rule during which he evolved from a champion of the fight against white minority rule into a figure blamed for a collapsing economy, government dysfunction and human rights violations. However, Mugabe's son Chatunga railed against those who had pushed out his father.

Despite the euphoria, some Mugabe opponents are uneasy about the prominent role played by the military, and fear Zimbabwe might be swapping one army-backed autocrat for another, rather than allowing the people to choose their next leader.

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