Leaders of Zimbabwe’s ruling party, ZANU-PF, met yesterday to draft a resolution to dismiss President Robert Mugabe at the weekend, a senior party source said.
The source said the leaders will lay the ground for his impeachment on Tuesday if Mr. Mugabe refused to stand down.
“There is no going back,” the source told Reuters. “If he becomes stubborn, we will arrange for him to be fired on Sunday. When that is done, it’s impeachment on Tuesday.”
Zimbabwe’s military said it was engaging President Mugabe in talks on the way forward for the country and that it would advise the nation on the outcome as soon as possible.
The military added, in a statement broadcast on Zimbabwean television, that it had made “significant progress” in its operation targeting “criminals” around Mugabe.
On Thursday, Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai urged Mugabe to resign in the interest of the country after the military seized power.
“In the interest of the people, Robert Mugabe must resign and step down immediately,” Mr. Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, told a news conference, reading from a statement.
But Mugabe has insisted that he remains Zimbabwe’s only legitimate ruler and has balked at mediation by a Catholic priest to allow the 93-year-old former guerrilla a graceful exit after a military coup, sources said on Thursday.
Earlier, the political opposition in Zimbabwe called for the intermediate installation of an interim government, a day after a surprise military takeover.
“At the moment, the transitional government is the best way to go,” said Douglas Mwonzora, secretary-general of Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party.
“We back the military move but the country should quickly go back a constitutional government,” he said.
Armoured vehicles stationed at key government buildings during the political upheaval on Wednesday remained in place.
The soldiers appeared relaxed, even smiling and chatting with onlookers.
Most people were going about their daily business and children went to school.
Special envoys sent by South African President Jacob Zuma were holding discussions on Mr. Mugabe’s fate with Zimbabwe’s leaders.
Officials from the Southern African Development Community were also meeting in Botswana’s capital, Gaborone, later Thursdayto discuss the situation in Zimbabwe.
“What is needed is an inclusive government to run the affairs of Zimbabwe until a time it is right to have elections,” said Didymus Mutasa, a long-time minister in Mugabe’s government who was fired in 2014 for backing Joice Mujuru as the president’s successor.
Jacob Mafume, a spokesman of the People’s Democratic Party led by Tendai Biti, said that any interim government “should be inclusive of all the stakeholders, including the church and all parties.”
While the army has said that Mugabe is safe, there were mixed reports in the media about his wife Grace Mugabe’s whereabouts, with some saying she had fled the country.
Speculation had been growing before the coup that 52-year-old Grace was preparing to take over from her husband.
The potential ascendency appears to have faced resistance from senior military officials.
There was uneasy calm on the streets of Harare after initial jubilation on Wednesday when the army announced it had seized control from Mugabe, 93, who had been in power almost four decades.
Several Mugabe allies from his Zanu-PF party, including Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo, have been detained, while some political players have been swift to show the army they’re on side.
A grovelling apology by Zanu-PF youth leader, Kudzai Chipanga, who had criticised the army only hours before, was published by state media late Wednesday.
“We are still young and make mistakes,” Mr. Chipanga said, adding that he was making his apology voluntarily and had not been coerced. “I have personally reflected and realised my mistake.”
…Mugabe Makes First Public Appearance
Meanwhile, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe showed up at the graduation ceremony of Zimbabwe Open University in Harare yesterday, local media reports said.
The appearance was his first since the army seized control of the country on Tuesday.
The 93-year-old appeared without his wife, Grace, and Higher and Tertiary education minister Jonathan Moyo, who is reportedly in the custody of the army, a Zimbabwe newspaper reported.
Mugabe’s appearance came moments after the military said progress was being achieved in the ongoing negotiations between the embattled leader and military leaders.
The talk is being brokered by South African Development Community’s representatives who were sent to the country by South African President Jacob Zuma. (NAN/LEADERSHIP.)