Zimbabwe’s former vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose dismissal led to the shock resignation of long-time President Robert Mugabe, will be sworn in as the new president on November 24, the state broadcaster announces.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, who fled to South Africa two weeks ago, would fly home on November 22, it added.
The news of Robert Mugabe’s resignation sparked wild celebrations across the country late into the night.
The announcement that Robert Mugabe was stepping down came in the form of a letter read out in parliament on November 21, abruptly halting impeachment proceedings against him.
In that letter, the 93-year-old said he was resigning to allow a smooth and peaceful transfer of power, and that his decision was voluntary.
A spokesman for the ruling Zanu-PF party said Emmerson Mnangagwa, 71, would serve the remainder of Robert Mugabe’s term until elections which are due to take place by September 2018.
The state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) confirmed that Emmerson Mnangagwa’s swearing-in ceremony had been scheduled for November 24.
Nicknamed the “crocodile” due to his political cunning, Emmerson Mnangagwa issued a statement from exile calling on Zimbabweans to unite to rebuild the country.
He told Zimbabwe’s NewsDay on November 21: “Together, we will ensure a peaceful transition to the consolidation of our democracy, and bring in a fresh start for all Zimbabweans and foster peace and unity.”
His dismissal by Robert Mugabe two weeks ago triggered an unprecedented political crisis in Zimbabwe.
The move had been seen by many as an attempt to clear the way for First Lady Grace Mugabe to succeed her husband as leader and riled the military leadership, which stepped in and put the president under house arrest.
Under Zimbawe’s constitution, the role of successor would normally go to a serving vice-president, and one still remains in post – Phelekezela Mphoko.
However, Phelekezela Mphoko – a key ally of Grace Mugabe – has just been fired by Zanu-PF and is not believed to be in the country. In his absence, the Zanu-PF has nominated Emmerson Mnangagwa, the speaker of parliament confirmed.
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has announced his resignation ending his 37 years of rule.
The announcement sparked jubilant celebrations in the nation’s streets.
A letter from Robert Mugabe, 93, read out by the speaker of parliament said the decision was voluntary and he had made it to allow a smooth transfer of power.
The news abruptly halted an impeachment hearing that had begun against him.
The ruling Zanu-PF party says former VP Emmerson Mnangagwa will succeed Robert Mugabe, in power since 1980.
Emmerson Mnangagwa’s dismissal earlier this month triggered a political crisis.
The move had been seen by many as an attempt to clear the way for Grace Mugabe to succeed her husband as leader and riled the military leadership, who stepped in and put Robert Mugabe under house arrest.
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.
Top leaders of Zimbabwe’s ruling party Zanu-PF are calling on President Robert Mugabe to step down, as pressure on him intensifies following a military intervention and protests.
Senior party officials have started arriving for a meeting of Zanu-PF in which they will discuss whether to dismiss Robert Mugabe.
The party’s Youth League, previously loyal to the long-term president, has turned against him.
Military leaders are also set to meet President Mugabe.
According state TV, mediation will be led by a Catholic priest.
In a statement, the Zanu-PF Youth League condemned Robert Mugabe’s allies for “looting and plundering” and his wife Grace for “vulgar, cunning and unruly behavior”, and called on him to stand down and to “rest as an elder statesman”.
Nine of ten Zanu-PF party chapters say Robert Mugabe should step down and their decision is likely to be endorsed at November 19 meeting of the party’s top body, the central committee.
The head of the influential War Veterans Association, Chris Mutsvangwa, predicted to Reuters before the meeting that President Mugabe would be removed from the party leadership, and his wife would lose her position as head of its women’s league.
He then threatened to “bring back the crowds and they will do their business” if Robert Mugabe did not step down.
The 93-year-old president has largely been confined to his house since the army took over on November 15.
The army took control of the country after President Mugabe fired his deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Emmerson Mnangagwa’s dismissal made Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace front runner to become next president. He is likely to be reinstated as vice-president when Zanu-PF convene.
Robert Mugabe has led Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980.
Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans, including people from the ruling party and the opposition, took to the streets on November 18 to celebrate the army’s takeover and to urge Robert Mugabe to quit.
They tore up pictures of the president and marched to his office and residence.
President Robert Mugabe may face impeachment in parliament next week if he refuses to step down.
Pictures published by Zimbabwe Herald on November 16 showed President Mugabe meeting army chief Gen. Constantino Chiwenga and the two envoys from the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) at State House in Harare.
Alongside them was Father Fidelis Mukonori, a Roman Catholic priest known to Robert Mugabe for years, who has been brought in to mediate.
Sources close to the talks say Robert Mugabe – who has been in control of Zimbabwe since it threw off white minority rule in 1980 – is refusing to stand down voluntarily before next year’s planned elections.
Some observers suggest that Robert Mugabe may be trying to seek guarantees of safety for himself and his family before stepping aside.
Zanu-PF officials had earlier suggested Robert Mugabe could remain nominally in power until the party congress in December, when Emmerson Mnangagwa would be formally installed as party and national leader.
The African Union said it would not accept a military seizure of power and demanded a return to constitutional order.
South Africa’s defense minister and security minister are meeting Robert Mugabe on behalf of Sadc, which South Africa currently leads. They urged Zimbabwe to “settle the political challenges through peaceful means,” the AFP reported.
South Africa is hosting millions of Zimbabweans who fled after the country’s economy crashed in 2008. It has a special interest in seeing stability restored.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said it was “in the interests of the people” that Robert Mugabe “resign… immediately” as part of a negotiated “all-inclusive transitional mechanism”.
Another opposition leader, Tendai Biti, called for elections to be held.
Early reports suggested Grace Mugabe had fled to Namibia, but sources now say she is in the family compound in Harare, along with some of the youth wing of Zanu-PF who had backed her.
Troops in armored vehicles have been out in the streets of the capital Harare since November 14.
After soldiers overran the headquarters of the ZBC broadcaster, Maj. Gen. Sibusiso Moyo went on air to say the military wished to “assure the nation that his Excellency the president… and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed”.
“We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes… that are causing social and economic suffering in the country,” the general said.
“As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.”
The statement also said that citizens should remain calm and limit unnecessary movement. The military assures the Zimbabwean judiciary that its independence is guaranteed. Security services should “co-operate for the good of our country” and any provocation would “be met with an appropriate response”. And all leave for the defense forces is canceled and personnel should return to barracks immediately.
It is not clear who is leading the military action.
Army chief Gen. Constantino Chiwenga, who visited China last week, said on November 13 the army was prepared to act to end purges within Zanu-PF.
Some staff at ZBC were manhandled when the soldiers moved in, sources told Reuters.
A government source told Reuters that Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo had been detained.
Ignatius Chombo is a leading member of a faction of Zanu-PF led by Grace Mugabe.
Zanu-PF had accused Gen. Constantino Chiwenga of “treasonable conduct” after he issued his warning that the army might intervene.
Robert Mugabe fired Emmerson Mnangagwa last week, amid a row over succession.
Emmerson Mnangagwa had previously been seen as a potential heir to the president, but First Lady Grace Mugabe had since become the clear front-runner.
Last month, Grace Mugabe accused allies of Emmerson Mnangagwa of planning a coup.
The rivalry between Grace Mugabe and Emmerson Mnangagwa split Zanu-PF.
Gen. Constantino Chiwenga is a close ally of Emmerson Mnangagwa and both are veterans of the 1970s war which ended white minority rule.
The leader of the war veterans, Chris Mutsvangwa, welcomed the military move, telling Reuters: “This is a correction of a state that was careening off the cliff.
“It’s the end of a very painful and sad chapter in the history of a young nation, in which a dictator, as he became old, surrendered his court to a gang of thieves around his wife.”
Zimbabwe’s opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has criticized the ruling party for hosting lavish 92nd birthday celebrations for President Robert Mugabe while swathes of the population face food shortages.
The event reportedly cost almost $800,000.
Robert Mugabe has dominated Zimbabwe politics since independence from the UK in 1980.
The event, which was televised and featured schoolchildren reading poetry about the president, was held in the drought-stricken south eastern city of Masvingo.
Robert Mugabe, accompanied by his wife Grace, released 92 balloons to kick off the event at the Great Zimbabwe monument, with tens of thousands of people attending.
In a speech, Robert Mugabe attacked Western donors, and said he would not accept “rotten, filthy” aid if it was contingent on Zimbabwe accepting same-gender marriages, the government-owned newspaper the Herald reported.
The MDC said the celebrations were “ill-conceived”.
Money used for the event should be used to import maize “to avert the impending starvation” in Masvingo and other areas, said Obert Gutu, a MDC spokesman.
The UN’s World Food Program said food production had fallen by half compared to a year earlier, because of severe drought.
The government said about three million people were food insecure and earlier this month it asked for nearly $1.6 billion in aid.
Obert Gutu said the ruling Zanu-PF “should be utterly ashamed” for hosting the costly celebration while “more than 90 %of Zimbabweans are wallowing in grinding poverty”.
However, a youth leader for the ruling Zanu-PF party defended the birthday celebrations.
“Money is not the issue here,” Pupurai Togarepi told the Reuters news agency.
“You cannot put a price on the contribution of President Mugabe to the history and development of this nation. All these things are worth more than money.”
Zimbabwe has faced severe economic challenges in recent years, which critics blame on policies including the seizures and redistribution of white-owned farms in 2000.
Hyper-inflation left its currency worthless and required the use of foreign currencies for most transactions.
Robert Mugabe has blamed Zimbabwe’s economic troubles on Western meddling.
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has spoken of his anger that his embattled VP Joice Mujuru allegedly plotted to assassinate him and accused her of being a thief.
Speaking at the ruling Zanu-PF party’s congress, Robert Mugabe said he would act against all corrupt officials.
Joice Mujuru’s absence from the congress showed she was “scared”, he added.
She is also Vice-President of Zanu-PF.
Robert Mugabe, 90, had targeted Joice Mujuru to advance the “fortunes” of his wife Grace, the former Zanu-PF spokesman added.
Joice Mujuru, who has previously denied the allegations, had been seen as a potential successor to Robert Mugabe, with whom she fought for Zimbabwe’s independence from white-minority rule.
However, her career ran into trouble when Grace Mugabe entered into politics this year, and accused her of plotting against her husband.
The congress, being held in the capital Harare, is expected to elect Grace Mugabe as the head of Zanu-PF’s women’s wing.
Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, will remain as Zanu-PF leader.
He told thousands of delegates that he welcomed the fact that his wife had exposed Joyce Mujuru’s attempt to oust him.
“Thieves never succeed… look at all the transgressions. Her corruption is now exposed,” Robert Mugabe said.
Robert Mugabe, while speaking in the local Shona language, said Joice Mujuru planned to assassinate him but in English he only accused her of trying to have him “kicked out” by bribing delegates.
“But you delegates are not foolish. You can’t be bought,” he added.
Vowing to tackle corruption, Robert Mugabe said: “If you were a minister, you will lose your job. Some will face the full might of the law.”
Joice Mujuru was first accused in the state-owned media of plotting to kill Robert Mugabe and has instructed her lawyers to take legal action to clear her name.
Referring to her and her allies’ failure to attend the congress, Robert Mugabe said: “As you see we have empty spaces on the stage. We didn’t chase them away but they chose not to come.”
Correspondents say Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa is now among the candidates being tipped to succeed Joyce Mujuru, her long-time rival.
Joice Mujuru, 59, took part in the 1970s guerrilla war against white-minority rule when her nom de guerre was Teurai Ropa (Spill Blood). She married Solomon Mujuru, the former army chief seen as Zimbabwe’s king-maker in 1977. Solomon Mujuru died in a fire at his farm in 2011.
Zimbabwean writer Chenjerai Hove has called on First Lady Grace Mugabe to hand back her PhD.
The wife of President Robert Mugabe was awarded a doctorate from the University of Zimbabwe last month.
There has been confusion over when Grace Mugabe enrolled, with some sources saying it was only two months ago – and students want the issue investigated.
The university authorities have not yet commented on the controversy.
A graduate and faculty member of the University of Zimbabwe, award-winning novelist and poet Chenjerai Hove, who is living in Norway, said he had written to the vice-chancellor to demand an explanation.
Grace Mugabe, the wife of President Robert Mugabe, was awarded a doctorate from the University of Zimbabwe in September 2014
“I have lost the pride and prestige of being a former student of the university which you head since our academic degrees have now become a laughing stock,” Chenjerai Hove says in the letter.
Chenjerai Hove’s remarks come as the Zimbabwe National Students Union prepares to file a court application on October 2 demanding that the University of Zimbabwe provide details about how the first lady came to be awarded the degree.
Amongst the concerns expressed by students is the fact that the first lady’s thesis is not available in the university’s library, as would be usual.
Grace Mugabe was awarded the doctorate in sociology by her husband – who is the chancellor of the university – at a ceremony on September 12 not long after she was endorsed to lead the governing Zanu-PF women’s wing.
Chenjerai Hove, an outspoken critic of President Robert Mugabe’s government, said the university needed to be more transparent about the apparent fast-tracking of the first lady’s degree.
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