World View: Robert Mugabe Stuns Zimbabwe by Refusing to Step Down


TThe Associated Press

by JOHN J. XENAKIS20 Nov 2017

This morning’s key headlines from

Robert Mugabe stuns Zimbabwe by refusing to step down

Plans go-ahead to impeach Mugabe

Robert Mugabe stuns Zimbabwe by refusing to step down

Robert Mugabe, giving his speech on Sunday

The people of Zimbabwe, as well as the international media reporters, were uniformly stunned (or gobsmacked, as one BBC reporter said) by Sunday’s events, that were incredible even by the standards of Zimbabwe.

First, as expected, the governing party of President Robert Mugabe’s governing Zanu-pf party voted to expel him from the party and to demand his resignation. According to the resolutions of the Zanu-pf Central Committee:

The Central Committee congratulated the masses of Zimbabwe for their participation in the historic solidarity march yesterday in support of the Zimbabwe War Veterans’ Association.

That Cde R.G. Mugabe be and he is hereby recalled from the position of President and First Secretary of Zanu-PF forthwith.

Further, the resolutions that Cde R.G. Mugabe should resign forthwith from his position as President and Head of State and Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe and if the resignation has not tendered by midday tomorrow 20 November 2017 (Monday), the Zanu-PF Chief Whip (Cde Lovemore Matuke) is ordered to institute proceedings for the recall of the President in terms of Section 97 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

That Cde E. D. Mnangagwa be the party’s nominee to be appointed to fill the vacancy of State President in terms of Part 4, paragraph 14 sub paragraph 5 of the Sixth Schedule of Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Number 20. That the Extraordinary Congress scheduled for 12th to the 17th of December 2017 should proceed for purposes of ratifying the decisions we have taken this afternoon, in particular ratifying the appointment of Cde ED Mnangagwa as the First Secretary and President of Zanu-PF. The Extraordinary Congress should also ratify the decision we have taken today to recall Cde R.G. Mugabe as President and First Secretary of Zanu-PF. …

That Cde Phelekezela Mphoko be and is hereby recalled from the position of Vice President and Second Secretary of Zanu-PF for being divisive, a member of the cabal, protecting criminals, preaching hate speech and behaving in a manner inconsistent with the Office and decorum of the Office.

According to numerous reports, Mugabe and the army had reached an agreement that Mugabe would announce that he would step down in a speech televised nationally (and, in fact, globally, since a lot of people around the world, including myself, were watching it live).

So as the world watched, Mugabe came into a conference room with a dozen army generals, shook their hands, and sat down at the table to read his speech.

Now what happened next is open to speculation. According to some social media, one could see Mugabe switch speeches just before he sat down, though this has not been confirmed.

At any rate, there is little doubt at the shock and surprise on the faces of the army generals as Mugabe read his speech. Instead of resigning, he said that he would be presiding over the December 12-17 Extraordinary Congress mentioned in the above Zanu-pf statement, and then he went on to forgive the army:

We cannot be guided by bitterness or revengefulness which would not makes us any better Zimbabweans.

The congress is due in a few weeks from now. I will preside over its processes, which must not be prepossessed by any acts calculated to undermine it or to compromise it the outcomes in the eyes of the public. The way forward thus cannot be based on swapping by tricks that ride roughshod over party rules and procedures.

Whatever the pros and cons of the way they [the army] went about registering those concerns, I as the president of Zimbabwe, as their commander in chief, do acknowledge the issues they have drawn my attention to, and do believe that these were raised in the spirit of honesty and out of deep and patriotic concern for the stability of our nation and for the welfare of our people.

We must learn to forgive and resolve contradictions real or perceived in a comradely Zimbabwean spirit.

I’m happy that throughout the short period the pillars of state remained functional.

He gave the speech in a halting manner, with several pauses, and seemed at times to be confused. At the end of the speech, he said good night, and then he apologized for having said some things out of order and hoped that they could be corrected.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was dumbstruck. “I am baffled. It’s not just me, it’s the whole nation. He’s playing a game. He is trying to manipulate everyone. He has let the whole nation down,” he said.

Some people expressed sadness that 93-year-old Mugabe had skipped his chance to leave office with dignity, and instead would be humiliated by the events to come. Reuters and Zimbabwe Herald and Zimbabwe Herald

World View: Robert Mugabe Stuns Zimbabwe by Refusing to Step Down