Robert Mugabe ousted from Zimbabwe's ruling party
The ruling party has voted to sack Robert Mugabe as its leader and has appointed in his place Emmerson Mnangagwa, the veteran autocrat fired two weeks ago.
Harare: President Robert Mugabe's own party voted to oust him as its leader on Sunday, a day after thousands of Zimbabweans took to the streets to celebrate his stunning fall from power after a military takeover.
The governing ZANU-PF party, which held emergency talks at its headquarters in the capital, Harare, to consider the fate of the president who had ruled for 37 years, appointed the previously fired vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, as Mugabe's successor, according to the BBC.
Cheers and dancing broke out in the building after the vote, according to video shared on social media.
Under the Constitution, Mugabe remains president, even if in name only. He was also meeting on Sunday with the military commander who had placed him under house arrest. Mugabe, who has resisted stepping down, was seeking to negotiate a dignified departure, the Zimbabwe state-run broadcaster said.
The downfall of the 93-year-old autocratic ruler began with a military takeover on Wednesday. Once respected as a liberation icon who went into exile after fighting colonial rule, Mugabe became isolated from fellow party officials.
Other veterans of the fight for independence from Britain joined the march on Saturday as Zimbabweans poured into the streets and danced, sang and shouted with joy at the prospect of Mugabe's rule ending.
After voting to fire Mugabe as party leader, the party committee was weighing a recommendation to Parliament to impeach the president.
Innocent Gonese, the parliamentary chief whip from the Movement for Democratic Change — Tsvangirai party, told The A.P. that when Parliament resumed on Tuesday, the chamber would "definitely" put in motion a process to impeach Mugabe.
"If Mugabe is not gone by Tuesday, then as sure as the sun rises from the east, impeachment process will kick in," Gonese said.
The central committee of ZANU-PF party also expelled the president's wife, Grace Mugabe, as head of the ZANU-PF Women's League.
Mrs. Mugabe, widely seen as his likely successor, has not been seen in public since Wednesday. On Sunday, she was barred from the party for life, along with several other government officials — including Jonathan Moyo, the minister of higher and tertiary education.
Chris Mutsvangwa, a war veteran who has led the campaign to oust Mugabe, said, "We are going all the way," as he went into the meeting, according to Reuters.
He said that Mugabe should just resign and leave the country: "He's trying to bargain for a dignified exit but he should just smell the coffee. A majority of the party's leaders had recommended expelling Mugabe — a harsh rebuke of the man who had controlled the organization with an iron grip since the country gained independence in 1980.
On Sunday, the youth league of Zimbabwe's ruling party said Mugabe should resign and take a rest as an "elder statesman," while his wife should be expelled from the party "forever," The Associated Press reported.
The youth league leader Yeukai Simbanegavi praised the military on Sunday for moving against what she described as a group of "criminals" led by Mrs. Mugabe, The A.P. said.
"It is unfortunate that the president allowed her to usurp executive authority from him, thereby destroying both the party and the government," she said.
Mugabe was also meeting again with the army commander Constantino Chiwenga, who placed him under house arrest and said that the action was aimed at rounding up ZANU-PF officials implicated in economic crimes that have ravaged the economy of the southern African nation.
A Catholic priest, Fidelis Mukonori, was mediating. Others on the negotiating team include the acting intelligence director, Aaron Nhepera, and the Mugabe spokesman George Charamba.