Zimbabwe’s discharged vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa will be sworn in as President on Friday following the resignation of Robert Mugabe after almost four decades in power, state broadcaster ZBC reported on Wednesday.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, who fled for his safety after Mugabe sacked him two weeks ago, will land at Manyame Airbase in Harare at 6pm (1600 GMT), ZBC said. Mnangagwa’s discharing prompted the military takeover that forced Mugabe out.
“The decision made by President Mugabe to stand down shows that he has listened to the people’s voices” – says text of the statement by the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini on the situation in Zimbabwe:
“An orderly and irreversible transition towards genuinely democratic elections is our shared objective. The consolidation of the constitutional order and respect for fundamental rights and freedoms are key.”
“It is important now that an inclusive dialogue is established that respects the aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe for a more prosperous and democratic future, and which encourages the acceleration of key reforms.”
Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party is set to begin impeachment proceedings against President Robert Mugabe on charges that include allowing his wife “to usurp constitutional power”.
The motion is now due to be presented to parliament on Tuesday, November 21.
Paul Mangwana, a party member, said the process could take as little as two days to complete, and President Mugabe could be removed without further delay.
A deadline set by Zanu-PF for his resignation passed on Monday.
Separately, military leaders said they had planned a “roadmap” for Robert Mugabe’s future, and that the ousted former vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, would return to the country soon.
Grace Mugabe and Emmerson Mnangagwa had both been seen as potential successors to the ageing president. But last week, President Mugabe fired his deputy – interpreted as an endorsement of his wife – prompting a military intervention.
Robert Mugabe was dismissed as leader of Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party to encourage a peaceful end to his 37 years in power following a de facto military coup d’état.
The ousted President was replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the deputy he sacked this month, sources at a special ZANU-PF meeting to decide Mugabe’s fate leaked to reporters.
“Mugabe has been expelled,” one of the delegates said. “Mnangagwa is our new leader.”
Mugabe’s wife Grace, who had harbored ambitions of succeeding Mugabe, was also shared the fate of her husband, being expelled from the party.
Speaking before the meeting, war veterans’ leader Chris Mutsvangwa said the 93-year-old Mugabe was running out of time to negotiate his departure and should leave the country while he could.
“He’s trying to bargain for a dignified exit,” party sources indicate.
Mutsvangwa followed up with warning to renew the street protests if Mugabe refused to leave: “We will bring back the crowds and they will do their business.”
The European Union is following the unfolding situation in Zimbabwe with concern. Despite the uncertainties surrounding current events, it is important to maintain respect for the rule of law and the fundamental rights of all citizens, says the statement of the European External Action Service (EEAS).
“A framework for a peaceful resolution which respects the constitutional order, and the founding principles of the African Union and Southern African Development Community, should be sought as a priority” continues the statement.
“The EU remains committed to support Zimbabwe in the preparation of credible elections and the delivery of political and economic reforms which can bring a more stable and prosperous future for all Zimbabweans” – concludes EEAS statement.
Robert Mugabe was still refusing to step down on Saturday, an official with direct knowledge of the ongoing negotiations between the President and the military told.
Mugabe was meeting Saturday with army chief General Constantino Chiwenga to discuss what happens next, the source told CNN. Chiwenga is pushing for Mugabe to step down and an interim president to take over, the source said.
Zimbabwe’s military seized power early on Wednesday targeting “criminals” around President Robert Mugabe but gave assurances on national television that the 93-year-old leader and his family were “safe and sound”.
Soldiers and armoured vehicles blocked roads to the main government offices, parliament and the courts in central Harare, while taxis ferried commuters to work nearby, a witness said.
“We are only targeting criminals around him (Mugabe) who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice,” Zimbabwe Major General SB Moyo, Chief of Staff Logistics, said on television.
“As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.”
Neither Mugabe nor his wife Grace, who has been vying to succeed her husband as president, have been seen or heard from.
Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change called for a peaceful return to constitutional democracy, adding it hoped the military intervention would lead to the “establishment of a stable, democratic and progressive nation state”.
The leader of Zimbabwe’s influential liberation war veterans called for South Africa, southern Africa and the West to re-engage Zimbabwe, whose economic decline over the past two decades has been a drag on the southern African region.