Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has stunned the country by failing to quit in a live TV address. Mr. Mugabe has vowed to stay in power, despite the pressure he is facing from the population, military and his former party.
His resignation was widely expected but in the 30 minute address, he suggested that he does not plan to step down. The live TV address came a day after thousands of protesters marched towards his residence and celebrated what’s been rumored for a few days now, his resignation.
Before the live TV address, there were reports from a source familiar with the negotiations that he had agreed to stand down. Earlier in the day, he was fired as leader of Zanu-PF party and told to resign or face impeachment. Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was fired by Mugabe less than two weeks ago, was appointed interim leader of the party. Mnangagwa was the vice president before he was fired and is said to be the person who could take charge once Mugabe is gone from power.
The live TV address now leaves many questions as he never announced what many expected. The impeachment process could be the next step to remove him from power, according to officials.
Mr. Mugabe, who has been under house arrest since the military takeover, was one of the members fired from the party today. His wife, Grace Mugabe, was also fired along with 20 officials that were close to her.
Sources close to the military say Mugabe wants to stay in power until the next elections. The firing earlier today and replacement with the former vice president was greeted by some Zanu-PF party members with applause and dancing. Members of the party also cheered when Grace Mugabe was fired.
Mugabe, who has been the president of Zimbabwe since 1987, left people angry and confused after the live TV address. Many had gathered around televisions to hear about his resignation but never heard those words.
Zimbabwe’s war veterans leader Chris Mutsvangwa recently said that plans for impeachment of President Mugabe will begin tomorrow. Three party officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity said Mugabe didn’t announce what they had agreed.