Mugabe ignores deadline to quit, ruling party calls meeting
Harare: (IANS) Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party has summoned its MPs to plan a course of action after the deadline set for the country's President Robert Mugabe to resign passed on Monday.
Mugabe was dismissed on Sunday as leader of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union -- Patriotic Front party and given an ultimatum to resign by 12 p.m. next day or face impeachment proceedings in Parliament.
The embattled leader surprised Zimbabweans on Sunday, declaring on TV that he planned to remain as President. Zanu-PF said it backs impeachment and proceedings could begin as soon as Tuesday when Parliament meets, the BBC reported.
The war veterans claimed that Mugabe swapped speeches to avoid resigning during the address to the nation.
A draft impeachment motion published by Zanu-PF after the deadline passed said Mugabe was a "source of instability" who had shown disrespect for the rule of law and is to blame for an unprecedented economic tailspin.
The public poured on to the streets in protest in recent days calling for the end to Mugabe's 37-year presidency. His grip on power has weakened considerably since the country's Army intervened on Wednesday in a row over who should succeed him.
The crisis began two weeks ago when the 93-year-old leader sacked his deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, angering Army commanders who saw it as an attempt to position his wife Grace as next President.
Zimbabwe has since then seen huge street rallies demanding his immediate resignation. The protests have been backed by the influential war veterans -- who fought in the conflict that led to independence from Britain in 1980.
The group's leader, Chris Mutsvangwa, on Monday called for more demonstrations against the President's attempt to cling on to power.
"We want to see his back now," Mutsvangwa said. "Mugabe, your rule is over. The emperor has no clothes. Thank you very much."
The city was swirling with rumours that Mugabe was planning his resignation and that he may go back on television to announce it at any stage, and that Sunday's speech was simply about giving carte blanche to the military for what they've done.
Mugabe said in his speech that he planned to preside over the Zanu-PF congress next month, a statement people found baffling after the party voted to strip him of his leadership and kick out his wife.
He made no mention of the pressure from his party and the public to quit. Instead, he declared that the military had done nothing wrong by seizing power and placing him under house arrest.
Before Mugabe's speech, Mnangagwa was named as Zanu-PF's new leader and candidate for the 2018 general elections. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said he was "baffled" by the President's address.