I am still President: Mugabe leaves house arrest since coup
“If he becomes stubborn, we will arrange for him to be fired on Sunday,” the source said. “When that is done, it’s impeachment on Tuesday.”
Zimbabwe’s official newspaper, the Herald, ran photographs late on Thursday that showed a grinning Mugabe shaking hands with military chief General Constantino Chiwenga, who seized power this week.
That suggested Mugabe was managing to hold out against Chiwenga’s coup, with some political sources saying he was trying to delay his departure until elections scheduled for next year.
The ZANU-PF source said that was not the case. Anxious to avoid a protracted stalemate, party leaders were drawing up plans to dismiss Mugabe at the weekend if he refused to quit, the source said.
Furthermore, he has little popular backing in the capital, a hotbed of support for the opposition, which has tapped into the anger and frustration at his handling of the economy, which collapsed after the seizure of white-owned farms in 2000.
Unemployment is now running at nearly 90 percent. Chronic shortages of hard currency are driving up the price of imports as much as 50 percent a month.On social media, Zimbabweans circulated a spoof message to Chiwenga demonstrating the depth of anger at Mugabe.
“If Mugabe refuses to resign, let the army take him to First Street and leave him there. People of Zim will negotiate with him,” the message read.
In a statement broadcast on national television, the military said it was “engaging” with Mugabe and would announce an outcome as soon as possible.
The United States, a longtime Mugabe critic, is seeking “a new era”, the State Department’s top official for Africa said, and an implicit call for Mugabe to quit.
In an interview with Reuters, acting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto appeared to dismiss the idea of keeping Mugabe in an interim or ceremonial role.
“It’s a transition to a new era for Zimbabwe, that’s really what we’re hoping for,” Yamamoto said.The army appears to want Mugabe to go quietly and allow a smooth and bloodless transition to Emmerson Mnangagwa, the vice president, whose sacking last week triggered the military takeover.