President Robert Mugabe ignored a noon deadline to offer his resignation, imposed by Zimbabwe’s ruling party, and now faces the threat of impeachment as people remain in a state of shock after the 93-year-old leader’s anticlimactic address to the nation.
Public expectation was high that Mugabe would tender his resignation in a speech on Sunday evening. But after 37 years in power, Mugabe held to his throne longer.
In a scenario that last week would have been unthinkable, tens of thousands of citizens and the ruling ZANU-PF party have turned against Mugabe after a military takeover on November 15 – which put the president under house arrest.
The ZANU-PF party’s Central Committee, after expelling Mugabe as its leader on Sunday, had given him a Monday noon ultimatum to step down as president, or face impeachment.
Instead of celebration, the streets of Harare, the capital, were quiet after Mugabe’s address, in which he only acknowledged the party’s problems. He took note of the military’s action, but said it did not challenge his authority as head of state.
“The operation I alluded to did not amount to a threat to our well-cherished constitutional order,” Mugabe said. “Nor was it a challenge to my authority as head of state and government. Not even as commander-in-chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.”
Mugabe vowed to preside over the extraordinary congress scheduled for next month.
He ended his address with a wartime mantra: iwe neni tine basa– “you and I have a job to do”.
Source: Al Jazeera