Zimbabweans couldn't stomach Mugabe's defiance speech, went to bed hungry

Lester Mason
November 21, 2017

"It would have looked extremely bad if he had resigned in front of those generals".

"Unfortunately, all was in vain and it seems we are back to square one in light of the old man's claim that he is ready to preside over the forthcoming December election [at Zanu PF's conference]. He has up to noon today or face impeachment".

Zimbabweans were left angered and confused after President Robert Mugabe failed to resign, but instead delivered a cryptic speech on Sunday.

On Saturday, the people of Zimbabwe overwhelmingly responded to the call by the war veterans in a national expression that reinforced the fact that the intervention of the military had national support; that it was timely and irreversible.

Lastly, if the military was motivated by the patriotic duty to return the country to normalcy, then there must be a call for an all-stakeholders' meeting to craft a way forward without any further delay.

"The deep state that engineered this change of leadership will remain, thwarting any real democratic reform", said Miles Tendi, a Zimbabwean academic at Oxford University. "This time there will be a sit-in".

"He's lost his marbles", he added. "We will go for impeachment and we are calling people back to the streets", Chris Mutsvangwa, head of the influential war veterans' association, told AFP.

Article 96 of Zimbabwe's constitution says that the president can resign if he submits a letter to the parliament speaker who must publicly announce it within 24 hours.

Watchdog group Veritas says the process will need at least several days to complete, since all there must be a day's notice before any motion is debated. "Zimbabweans want him to resign today", he told dpa on Monday.

Resignation would be the fastest, simplest and least risky way for Mugabe to leave power - but that looks unlikely. However, a complicating factor in finding a way forward is the internal political situation in the ZANU-PF party.

November 16: State-run media publish extraordinary photos of a smiling Mugabe shaking hands with the army commander at the State House amid negotiations on the president's exit as the military tries to avoid accusations of a coup.

Emmerson Mnangagwa fled Zimbabwe after Mr Mugabe stripped him of his position, seen by many as a way clearing the way for his wife to succeed him as leader.

But when he was removed from office, Phelekezela Mphoko - a known supporter of Grace Mugabe - became vice-president, and in theory would assume the presidential role. He would be named as acting leader - something the army wants to avoid.

Some sources suggest Mugabe has been battling to delay his exit in order to secure a deal that would guarantee future protection for him and his family.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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