Robert Mugabe deposed as party leader
Robert Mugabe is deposed as head of ZANU-PF in Zimbabwe, who also want to deprive him of the presidency.
The central government of ZANU-PF in a crisis meeting on Sunday decided to replace the authoritarian 93-year-old with Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was fired by Mugabe as vice president earlier this week, reports Reuters.
All the ten provincial teams in ZANU-PF have joined in the demand for Mugabe’s demise from power, as has the war veterans who arranged a mass demonstration in Harare on Saturday to demand his stepping down.
The youth party in ZANU-PF, who has been strong supporters of Mugabe, also demanded that he and his wife Grace be thrown out of the party.
The war veteran leader Chris Mutsvangwa repeated the claim on Sunday and asked Mugabe to realize that the race has been run.
– I hope Mugabe understands that he must deliver his letter of resignation and withdraw, he said.
The central party’s decision to exclude Mugabe and his wife from the party therefore did not come as a big surprise. Neither did the decision to replace him with Mnangagwa.
According to Mutsvangwa, the process of depriving Mugabe of the presidential post is also starting to happen, and is likely to happen when the national assembly meets on Monday.
The army of Zimbabwe seized power on Wednesday and placed Mugabe in house arrest, but denies that it is a military coup. Attempts to persuade the president to step down has however not been heeded.
– He and his wife Grace are willing to die for what’s right and have no plans to legitimize this week’s military coup, Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao told Reuters on Saturday.
Zimbabwean Minister of Defense, Constantino Chiwenga, is going to have another meeting with Mugabe on Sunday.
A country in ruins
Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe for the last 37 years, leaving behind a country where 72 per cent of the population now live in poverty according to the World Bank.
Unemployment in Zimbabwe is above 90 per cent, according to trade unions, and the average life expectancy is only 59 according to UN.
Mugabe probably hoped to be succeeded by his 41 year younger wife Grace, who has been supported by the women’s movement within ZANU-PF, but has no support from the army.
Emmerson Mnangagwa is also no youth at age 75. As Minister of Security he was nicknamed “the crocodile” because of his brutality, and independent experts question whether he has the solutions to the huge problems Zimbabwe face
Facts about Zimbabwe
- Southern African country with 16 million inhabitants.
- Colonized by Britain in the late 1800s. Self-governing colony from 1923. Became known as Rhodesia and ruled by a white minority regime that unilaterally declared its independence from the United Kingdom in 1965. Achieved independence in 1980 after a brutal liberation war.
- Robert Mugabe (93) was celebrated as liberation hero and has led the country since independence, first as prime minister, then as president of 1987.
- Mugabe has led a confrontational line with the West and the white minority in Zimbabwe. He is blamed for the immense economic problems since the early 1990s after ousting the white land owners and discrimination of other minorities.
- After a controversial presidential election in 2009, Mugabe had to agree to share power with opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai, who became prime minister. But after securing his re-election in 2013, he again gathered the whole government in his hands.
- Last week, Mugabe deprived his vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa of power. It was expected that Mugabe would instead appoint his wife Grace as vice president.
- On Wednesday, Mugabe was placed in house arrest by the country’s military, who refuse to call it a military coup.
- According to Norad, Zimbabwe has received more than NOK 4 billion in Norwegian aid during the reign of Mugabe.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today