Friday 23 February 2018

Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe baffles country after ending rambling TV speech without resigning

Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, meets with Defence Forces Generals in Harare at State House
Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, meets with Defence Forces Generals in Harare at State House
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe has baffled the country by ending his address on national television without announcing his resignation.

The ruling party's Central Committee had hours earlier told him to resign as president by noon on Monday or face impeachment proceedings the following day.

Zimbabweans gathered in expectation of a celebration.

Instead, Mugabe appeared to hint at challenging the ruling party, which has expelled him as its leader, by trying to stay on.

He made a reference to presiding over a party congress next month.

"The congress is due in a few weeks from now. I will preside over its processes, which must not be possessed by any acts calculated to undermine it or compromise the outcomes in the eyes of the public," he said.

Officials close to the talks between Mugabe and the military had said the president would resign.

Mugabe noted the political turmoil that led to his military house arrest and expulsion as ruling party leader.

"From tonight ... the nation at all levels gets refocused," he said.

He said that "failures of the past" may have triggered anger in some quarters, which he calls "quite understandable".

He also notes that "intergenerational conflict must be resolved", a reference to his apparent positioning of his unpopular 52-year-old wife to succeed him.

Mugabe is 93 and had been backed by fellow veterans of the country's liberation war, until they turned against him.

Press Association

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