Zimbabwe’s ZANU-PF sacks Mugabe as party leader, Mnangagwa takes leadership

Zimbabwe’s ruling party ZANU-PF on Sunday sacked President Robert Mugabe as its leader, party officials have confirmed.

Ex-vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa who was sacked by President Mugabe two weeks ago has now been appointed the leader of the party.

“He has been expelled,” one of the delegates said. “Mnangagwa is our new leader.”

Since his sacking, a lot has unfolded including the military intervening to block Mugabe from installing his wife Grace in his place. The first lady has been expelled from the party altogether.

According to state broadcaster ZBC, Mugabe is due to meet Zimbabwe Defense Forces chief Constantine Chiwenga on Sunday in a second meeting since the takeover. ZBC quoted Roman Catholic priest Fidelis Mokonori, one of the facilitators of the talks, as saying. His motorcade was seen leaving his private residence, the BBC reports.

While 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,” he said.

Thousands of protesters marched on the streets of Harare on Saturday singing, dancing and hugging soldiers in an outpouring of elation demanding Mugabe’s resignation.

Mutsvangwa followed up with threat to call for street protests if Mugabe refused to go, telling reporters: “We will bring back the crowds and they will do their business.”

Mnangagwa is expected to head an interim post-Mugabe unity government that will focus on rebuilding ties with the outside world and stabilizing an economy in freefall.

After the decision to remove Mr Mugabe was taken, cheering erupted in the hall. Delegates were seen singing and dancing.

Under house arrest in his lavish ‘Blue Roof’ compound, Mugabe has refused to stand down even as he has watched his support from party, security services and people evaporate in less than three days.

His nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, told Reuters Mugabe and his wife were “ready to die for what is correct” rather than step down in order to legitimize what he described as a coup.