Advertisement

Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe says he has no intention of stepping down

Click to play video: 'People march against Mugabe days after military seizes control in Zimbabwe' People march against Mugabe days after military seizes control in Zimbabwe
WATCH: People march against Mugabe days after military seizes control in Zimbabwe – Nov 18, 2017

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe defied expectations he would resign on Sunday, pledging to preside over a ZANU-PF congress next month even though the ruling party had removed him as its leader hours earlier.

Mugabe’s 37-year rule has been effectively at an end since the army seized control on Wednesday, confining him to his residence, saying it wanted to target the “criminals” around him.

The leader of Zimbabwe’s war veterans said on Sunday plans to impeach President Robert Mugabe would go ahead as scheduled after the 93-year-old leader defied expectations that he would resign in a national address.

WATCH: Zimbabwe’s military on Wednesday confirmed that it had seized power in a targeted assault on “criminals” around President Robert Mugabe, but gave assurances that the 93-year-old leader and his family were “safe and sound”.

Click to play video: 'Zimbabwe army says it has taken power, Mugabe ‘safe and sound’' Zimbabwe army says it has taken power, Mugabe ‘safe and sound’
Zimbabwe army says it has taken power, Mugabe ‘safe and sound’ – Nov 15, 2017

State television said Mugabe would meet military commanders on Sunday, quoting Catholic priest Fidelis Mukonori, who has been mediating in negotiations with the president.

Story continues below advertisement

But hundreds of thousands of people had no need for a formal signal that his time had ended as they flooded the streets of Harare, singing, dancing and hugging soldiers.

In scenes reminiscent of the downfall of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989, men, women and children ran alongside the armoured cars and the troops who stepped in this week to oust the only ruler Zimbabwe has known since independence in 1980.

READ MORE: U.S. calls for ‘new era’ in Zimbabwe and asks Mugabe to step down

Others marched towards his lavish ‘Blue Roof’ residence, but were kept away by soldiers.

Mugabe and his wife Grace previously said they were “ready to die for what is correct” and that they no intention of stepping down in order to legitimize this week’s military coup, his nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, said on Saturday.

Speaking to Reuters from a secret location in South Africa, Zhuwao said Mugabe had hardly slept since the military seized power on Wednesday but his health was otherwise “good.”

Zimbabwe’s state-run broadcaster is calling the country “free and liberated” as the bulk of the capital’s population seems to be streaming toward the official residence of the longtime president.

The broadcaster is showing previously unthinkable footage of speeches at a rally where speakers declare that “This is the new Zimbabwe.”

Story continues below advertisement

WATCH: Armoured vehicles seen near Zimbabwe’s capitol, military denies takeover

Click to play video: 'Armoured vehicles seen near Zimbabwe’s capitol,  military denies takeover' Armoured vehicles seen near Zimbabwe’s capitol, military denies takeover
Armoured vehicles seen near Zimbabwe’s capitol, military denies takeover – Nov 15, 2017

One speaker at the rally is expressing popular anger at first lady Grace Mugabe, whose apparent attempts to succeed her husband were a factor in the military’s move.

 

“You and your husband should go today and not tomorrow,” the speaker says.

Sponsored content