Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF replaces Mugabe with his fired vice president as party leader

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[Party also recalls wife Grace Mugabe as head of women's league. But see also: This is redistribution for Zimbabwe’s elite, not revolution in a ruined nation. *RON*]

Associated Press, CBC News, 19 November 2017

A rivalry between Emmerson Mnangagwa, seen here, and Robert Mugabe's wife, Grace, was behind the decision to fire him on Nov. 1, say political observers. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/Associated Press)
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was fired as leader of the ruling ZANU-PF party on Sunday and replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the deputy he sacked this month, a party official has confirmed.

Legislator Emmanuel Fundira on Sunday said he thinks it is a "fait accompli" that Mnangagwa will be reinstated as vice president and chosen to lead Zimbabwe after Mugabe's expected resignation or impeachment.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace attend his birthday celebrations in Masvingo on Feb. 27, 2016. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/Associated Press)

After holding an emergency meeting, Zimbabwe's ruling party central committee said Mugabe must resign as president by noon Monday or impeachment proceedings will start. Parliament resumes Tuesday and impeachment proceedings would begin then.

A party source also said the president's wife, Grace Mugabe, has been expelled from the party. Grace became head of the ZANU-PF Women's League in 2014, giving her a seat at the party's top table.

Grace Mugabe, 52, was reported to have been placed under house arrest in the capital, Harare, last Wednesday, along with her 93-year-old husband.

Without the military's intervention last week, many observers say she likely would have replaced Mnangagwa as vice president and been in a position to succeed her husband.

Soldiers stand guard on armoured vehicles on the streets of Harare on Sunday, a day after demonstrators took to the streets, shouting anti-Mugabe slogans. (Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters)

Innocent Gonese with the MDC-T party said they had been in discussions with the ruling ZANU-PF party to act jointly.

"If Mugabe is not gone by Tuesday, then as sure as the sun rises from the east, impeachment process will kick in," Gonese said.

Mugabe's talks with army commander Constantino Chiwenga, meanwhile, were underway Sunday. They were the second round of negotiations on an exit as the military tries to avoid accusations of staging a coup.

A man calling for President Robert Mugabe to step down protests in Harare on Saturday. (Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters)

Zimbabwean officials have not revealed details of the talks, but the military appears to favour a voluntary resignation by Mugabe — after nearly four decades in power — to maintain a veneer of legality in the political transition.

Mugabe, in turn, could be using whatever leverage he has left to try to preserve his legacy as one of Africa's liberation leaders or even protect himself and his family from possible prosecution.

Chris Mutsvangwa, head of the country's liberation war veterans, said he was concerned that the military could end up opening fire to protect Mugabe from protesters. He vowed to "bring back the crowd" if the president didn't step aside.

"We would expect that Mugabe would not have the prospect of the military shooting at people, trying to defend him," Mutsvangwa said. "The choice is his."

With files from Reuters

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