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Zimbabwe Coup: President Robert Mugabe Vows to Stay in Power for Several Weeks

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has refused to resign and vowed to stay in power for several weeks, despite mounting calls for him to stand down now.

In a live TV address, President Mugabe said he would preside over the ruling party’s congress in December.

Meanwhile, the Zanu-PF earlier dismissed Robert Mugabe as party leader, and gave him less than 24 hours to resign as president or be impeached.

Robert Mugabe’s grip on power has weakened since the military intervened on November 15, in a row over who should succeed him.

The crisis began when Robert Mugabe sacked his deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, two weeks ago, angering army commanders who saw it as an attempt to position his wife as his successor.

Earlier in the day, Emmerson Mnangagwa was named as Zanu-PF’s new leader and candidate for the 2018 general elections.

At the same party meeting, Robert Mugabe’s 52-year-old wife, Grace, was expelled from the party, alongside a number of other senior officials.

Image source U.S. Navy

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However, in his speech later in the day, the 93-year-old president made no direct mention of those developments.

“The (ruling Zanu-PF) party congress is due in a few weeks and I will preside over its processes,” Robert Mugabe told the nation, flanked by senior military generals at his official residence in Harare. The president spoke slowly, occasionally stumbling over his words.

Robert Mugabe acknowledged criticism from Zanu-PF, the military and public, and stressed the need to return Zimbabwe to normalcy.

He said, in reference to the army’s move last week to take over the state broadcaster: “Whatever the pros and cons of how they (the army) went about their operation, I, as commander-in-chief, do acknowledge their concerns.”

Robert Mugabe said their actions had not violated the constitution, but he did not mention any possibility of resigning.

Tens of thousands had joined huge demonstrations on November 18, with many believing he was about to step down.

It is not entirely clear how Robert Mugabe can preside over Zanu-PF’s congress next month, following his dismissal as party leader.

Party positions are officially decided at the congress and Emmerson Mnangagwa may officially take over leading the country then.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former state security chief, is nicknamed “the crocodile” for his perceived shrewdness. He fled Zimbabwe after his sacking two weeks ago, but has since reportedly returned.

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