Mugabe facing impeachment, calls Cabinet meeting
Zimbabwe's ruling party yesterday ordered impeachment proceedings to begin against longtime President Robert Mugabe and expressed confidence that he could be voted out within two days, while the world's oldest head of state ignored the party's midday deadline to resign and instead summoned ministers to a Cabinet meeting for this morning.
The ruling ZANU-PF party's deputy secretary for legal affairs, Paul Mangwana, said lawmakers would move a motion for impeachment on Tuesday and set up a parliamentary committee, and on Wednesday, the committee would report back to all lawmakers, and "we vote him out".
The main charge against the 93-year-old Mugabe is "allowing his wife to usurp government powers" and that "he is too old and cannot even walk without help," Mangwana told reporters.
He said the ruling party needs the backing of the MDC opposition group to have enough votes in Parliament, but "we have talked to them and they are supporting us".
Zimbabweans were stunned by Mugabe's defiance during a national address on Sunday night in which the increasingly isolated president, put under military house arrest last week, had been expected to step down. Mugabe did acknowledge "a whole range of concerns" about the chaotic state of the Government and the economy, which has collapsed since he took power after independence from white minority rule in 1980.
A notice by Mugabe's chief secretary announced this morning's Cabinet meeting at State House and said all ministers "should attend." However, a tweet by one minister, Jonathan Moyo, indicated that several had left the country.
The military appears to favour a voluntary resignation for Mugabe, one of Africa's last remaining liberation leaders, to maintain a veneer of legality in the political transition and avoid accusations of a coup. Mugabe, in turn, is likely using whatever leverage he has left to try to preserve his legacy or even protect himself and his family from possible prosecution.
Amid the political confusion, the Government yesterday urged Cabinet ministers to pursue business as usual. Meanwhile, opposition activists and the influential Liberation War Veterans Association announced more demonstrations to pressure Mugabe to go.