Robert Mugabe has finally resigned

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe resigned on Tuesday, bringing to an end 37 years in power which he began as a hero of the struggle against white rule and ended as the man blamed for reducing his country to despotism and economic misery.

The streets of Harare erupted in celebration after Mr Mugabe’s resignation was announced during a joint session of both houses of the Zimbabwean parliament that had gathered to launch impeachment proceedings on Tuesday afternoon.

“My decision to resign is voluntary on my part and arises from my concern for the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and my desire for a smooth, non-violent transfer of power,” Mr Mugabe said in a letter read out by Jacob Mudenda, the speaker of parliament.

Mr Mugabe’s resignation letter made no mention of who should replace him as president.

However, he is widely expected to be succeeded by Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former security chief who fled to South Africa after Mr Mugabe fired him as vice president on November 6.

Zanu-PF, the ruling party, installed Mr Mnangagwa as party leader after ousting Mr Mugabe from the same role on Saturday.

Mr Mugabe’s resignation came a week after Zimbabwe’s military placed the 93-year old president under house arrest in a soft coup prompted by a power struggle within the ruling party involving Grace Mugabe, the first lady.

 

In a bid to preserve a veneer of legitimacy and avoid sanctions, the military and its allies in Zanu-PF attempted to persuade Mr Mugabe to resign voluntarily by threatening to impeach him and mounting a massive public march in Harare to demonstrate he had lost public support.

He initially refused to resign, and stunned Zimbabweans on Sunday night when he used a televised address, widely expected to be a resignation speech, to reassert his authority and announce he intended to preside over Zanu-PF’s December congress as usual.

He faced further humiliation on Tuesday after almost no ministers showed up to a routine cabinet meeting he called at State House, his official Harare office.

Zimbabweans celebrate outside the parliament building immediately after hearing the news that President Robert Mugabe had resigned
Zimbabweans celebrate outside the parliament building immediately after hearing the news that President Robert Mugabe had resigned CREDIT: BEN CURTIS/ AP
Later in the afternoon lawmakers from both houses of parliament gathered in a conference centre to debate a motion that called for him to be removed from power for short comings including falling asleep in meetings and allowing Mrs Mugabe to “usurp” presidential powers.

The motion, which was tabled by Zanu PF and seconded by the Movement for Democratic Change, the main opposition party, was abandoned after Mr Mugabe’s resignation letter arrived in parliament.

Mr Mnangagwa had called on Mr Mugabe to heed the “insatiable” desire of the Zimbabwean public for change in a statement on Tuesday morning.

“The people of Zimbabwe have spoken with one voice and it is my appeal to President Mugabe that he should take heed of this clarion call and resign forthwith so that the country can move forward and preserve his legacy,” Mr Mnangagwa said in his statement.

 

Culled from the telegraph.co.uk

‘You are serving at Mugabe’s will,’- Grace blasts hubby’s VPs

Zimbabwe’s First Lady Grace Mugabe has warned her husband’s deputies that they risk losing their jobs if they do not perform to the expectations of the 93-year-old leader.

Addressing thousands of ruling Zanu-PF supporters at a rally held on Saturday at the Chinhoyi University of Technology, the First Lady said vice presidents served at President Robert Mugabe’s will.

This came at a time when one of Mugabe’s deputies, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was reportedly leading a faction within the ruling Zanu-PF party that was angling to take over power when the nonagenarian eventually left office.

“At one point I received calls from people within the party who wanted us to go into the streets and demonstrate against Mnangagwa because they were not happy with him,” said Grace.

‘I am not going nowhere’

“I told them that vice presidents are appointed by the president and they serve at his mercy. So they must act in a manner that pleases the president,” she added.

At the same rally, Grace dragged presidential spokesperson George Charamba before a stunned Zanu PF crowd and a television audience which her husband, missed it because he was dozing off.

Grace was shouting the information ministry permanent secretary down for allegedly influencing the State media to ignore her philanthropic work while reserving good coverage for others.

Charamba has previously said President Mugabe’s apparent sleepy postures would in fact be an attempt by his boss to avoid direct light onto his tired eyes.

The First Lady last called on Mugabe to name his successor. Grace, who was reportedly leading a faction that wanted to torpedo Mnangagwa’s presidential ambitions, called on her husband to appoint a female vice president.

President Mugabe, however, said he was not ready to leave office any time soon, arguing that any new presidential candidate that would face off with former premier Morgan Tsvangirai of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party would be defeated.

“Some are saying I’m going, I am not going anywhere. Some are saying I am dying, I am not dying,” said the veteran leader.

Mugabe, who has failed to groom a successor in 37 years in power, said his party was sharply divided and called for unity among Zanu-PF members as Zimbabweans prepared for general elections due next year.

 

News24

Robert Mugabe’s wife, 52, urges her frail husband, 93, to name a successor

Zimbabwe’s first lady has urged her 93-year-old husband to name a successor, wading into a subject dictatorial President Robert Mugabe deems taboo.
Grace Mugabe, 52, told members of the ruling ZANU-PF party women’s league that naming a successor ‘will enable all members to rally behind one candidate’.
The world’s oldest head of state, who has led Zimbabwe since 1980, has repeatedly refused to name a successor and says he will take part in next year’s election.
His wife has previously said her husband could ‘rule from the grave’, adding: ‘If God decides to take him then we would rather field him as a corpse’.

 

‘President, don’t be afraid,’ Mrs Mugabe said. ‘Tell us who is your choice, which horse we should back.
‘If you tell us the horse to back, we will rise in our numbers and openly support that horse. Why should our horse be concealed?
‘I live with this elder. He has wisdom. He is not talkative but he knows what he wants… Mark my words, his word will be final.’
This is the first time Mrs Mugabe has publicly urged her husband to name a successor, although she did not say whether her statements were aimed at next year’s election.
Mrs Mugabe, who heads the ZANU-PF women’s league, has become increasingly powerful in politics.
Her decisions have carried more weight at times than those of the country’s vice presidents, and she has been headlining her own political rallies since 2014.

While she is seen as a potential successor to her husband, she has sent mixed signals. She has said she has no problem becoming president but on other occasions has said she has no such ambitions.
She said Thursday her husband’s choice on a successor should be final. ZBC reported that she said naming a successor ‘has been the trend in other countries.’
She also used a biblical analogy of a son who organized a feast to crown himself because his father was close to death.
Some analysts have suggested that Robert Mugabe, who visibly struggles to walk these days, could call an early election.
His party’s secretary for administration, Ignatius Chombo, last month said Mugabe could call an election in February or March.
He can only do that if Parliament chooses to dissolve itself. His party holds the majority there.

Dailymailonline

 

Mugabe lavishes sister-in-law with $60,000 birthday gift

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe lavished his sister-in-law with $60,000 on her birthday, state-owned media reported Monday, at a time when the country is running critically short of cash.

The Herald newspaper said Mugabe, 93, and his wife Grace gave Junior Gumbochuma the money at her birthday celebrations, while the couple’s children gave her $10,000.

“The gift was to thank Mrs Gumbochuma, a pastor, for the pivotal role she played in raising the First Family’s children,” the newspaper said.

Gumbochuma, who is Grace Mugabe’s elder sister, celebrated her 60th birthday on Sunday as Grace celebrated her 52nd at one of the Mugabes’ farms in Shamva, northeast of Harare.

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe lavished his sister-in-law with $60,000 on her birthday, state-owned media reported Monday, at a time when the country is running critically short of cash.

Zimbabwe’s public salary wage bill uses up 91 percent of total revenue and the economy has halved in size since 2000.

‘We will field Robert Mugabe’s corpse for election’, says wife

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The wife of 92-year-old Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said Friday that he would be the voters’ choice even after he dies, as she addressed supporters from the ruling ZANU-PF party.

Grace Mugabe, who is seen as a possible successor to her ailing husband, ratcheted up her colourful rhetoric ahead of the general election due next year.

“One day when God decides that Mugabe dies, we will have his corpse appear as a candidate on the ballot paper,” Grace Mugabe told a party rally in Buhera, southeast of the capital Harare.
“You will see people voting for Mugabe as a corpse. I am seriously telling you — just to show people how people love their president.”
President Mugabe has vowed to stand again in the election, but Grace could run if he dies before the vote.

Grace Mugabe, who was appointed leader of ZANU-PF’s women’s wing in a surprise move two years ago, is well known for her fiery speeches and verbal attacks on her husband’s opponents. In 2015, she led a campaign which led to the ousting of deputy president Joice Mujuru, accusing Mujuru of fanning factionalism, plotting to topple Mugabe and corruption and bribery.

President Mugabe, the world’s oldest national leader, turns 93 on Tuesday, with a celebration party planned for next Saturday. Grace has previously pledged to push Mugabe in his wheelchair to election rallies if needed.

Mugabe, who has been in power since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, has avoided naming a successor and his party is divided between factions jostling to succeed him.

Grace bemoaned the in-fighting, telling those seeking to succeed her husband: “Let’s not fool each other, let’s wait for God’s time.”

War veterans attack ‘beginning of the end’ for Mugabe, say analysts

Zimbabwe’s war veterans’ surprise attack on President Robert Mugabe signals the “beginning of the end” for the long-time leader, already buckling under pressure from a restive population angry over worsening economic woes.

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In a rare public rebuke to the world’s oldest president, war veterans decried Mugabe’s “dictatorial tendencies” and vowed to withdraw their support if he seeks re-election in 2018.

“This is the beginning of the end for Mugabe,” said Takavafira Zhou, a political scientist from Masvingo State University.

“The war veterans have realised Mugabe is sinking and with him his regime. They don’t want to sink with the ship,” said Zhou.

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For decades, the war veterans who fought in the 1972-1979 war of independence have propped up Mugabe as the “heart and soul” and “foot soldiers” of the ruling Zanu-PF party, said analyst Charles Laurie of London-based risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft.

But during a meeting last week, the war veterans said their relationship with Mugabe, 92, was seriously damaged.

“The relationship between us as war veterans and the president has broken down. He and the party do not like us anymore,” the war veterans’ political commissar Francis Nhando said.

The ruling party this week launched a project to reward party loyalists with housing plots, but excluded war veterans who over the years were given first priority in party and government projects.

“We very angry with what the president is doing,” Beta Guvheya, a war veteran, told AFP.

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“There is no money in this country not because the country is poor… but we don’t have a manager,” said Guvheya.

“That is the reason we are saying Mugabe must go. Mugabe is not going to win an election. No one is interested in Mugabe’s government now.”

Former war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda said: “We have reached rock bottom. People are angry.”

Sibanda who was expelled from Zanu-PF party for warning over the excessive influence of Mugabe’s wife Grace, said the country’s leadership “has lost touch with reality”.

– ‘People are angry’ –

“By withdrawing support for Mugabe, the war veterans have dealt a serious blow to the embattled dictator,” said Laurie, adding that their “proclamation seems to mark a decisive break with Zanu-PF”.

Editor of the privately-owned Zimbabwe Independent Dumisani Muleya said the country was in unchartered territory.

“The war veterans’ historic stand against Mugabe could be Zimbabwe’s political decisive moment. It might be a turning point of epoch-making proportions,” Muleya said.

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Muleya warned that if the war veterans joined forces with the national resistance movement driven by civic groups, churches and opposition parties, Mugabe “could soon face his Waterloo”.

The country has in recent weeks been hit by protests including a mass strike called by an evangelical pastor Evan Mawarire, which shut business earlier this month.

“I am glad everyone is standing up” (against Mugabe), said Sibanda.

Authorities in Zimbabwe on Saturday denounced the war veterans’ statement as “treasonable” and “traitorous” and said they were investigating its origin and threatened to prosecute the authors.

Starting in 2000, the war veterans led seizures of white-owned commercial farms in what Mugabe said was a reversal of imbalances from the colonial era.

Their statement came in the wake of a surge of public anger against Mugabe, triggered by an economic crisis that has left banks short of cash and the government struggling to pay its workers.

Mugabe’s party is split between his wife Grace and vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa as Mugabe’s possible successors.

Zimbabwe fails to pay soldiers on time for second successive month

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Zimbabwe has delayed paying its soldiers for a second successive month, sources said Monday, underlining the worsening economic crisis that has triggered recent protests.

Ten days ago, President Robert Mugabe’s government was shaken by a national strike led by civil servants frustrated over several salary delays as Zimbabwe’s treasury struggles with a severe cash shortage.

The military are normally the first priority for payment due to their role in protecting the regime of Mugabe, 92.

But they were not paid as scheduled last week, and last month’s salaries were paid about two week late.

“We were supposed to get our salaries last Friday but there was nothing at the bank,” a junior soldier who requested anonymity told AFP. “We do not know when we will be paid.”

Other soldiers confirmed the delay.

The cash-strapped government, which spends more than 80 percent of its revenue on wages, has resorted to staggering pay dates as it scrapes the bottom of its coffers.

Protests in recent weeks over salaries, alleged police corruption and import restrictions have exposed growing public anger as the country’s economy has ground to a halt.

Mugabe has previously used his ruthless security forces to crack down on any public show of dissent.

Christian pastor Evan Mawarire, who has emerged as a leader of the protests, was last week arrested and then released after charges that he had attempted to overthrow the government were thrown out by a court.

“We have gotten to a place as Zimbabweans where… the personal struggle has become too difficult to hide,” Mawarire told South Africa’s Radio 702 on Monday.

“No matter what your religion is or background or political affiliation, we have just reached a point where we are saying… we are done with this,” said the 39-year-old, who has travelled to neighbouring South Africa.

He said he was safe following fears that he would be targeted by pro-Mugabe groups, but he gave no more details about his whereabouts or future plans.

An army spokesman did not immediately comment on the reported salary delays.

The average soldier’s pay is about $500 a month.

AFP.