Robert Mugabe, the recently ousted president of Zimbabwe in an undated photo
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe on Sunday, November 19, 2017 addressed the south-eastern African nation in a television broadcast in which he did not mention quitting or resignation.
Mugabe, who has just been fired as the leader of Zanu-PF, Zimbabwe’s ruling political party, said that a meeting with the military leaders today [Sunday] has made him aware of issues that need to be addressed in the country.
On the telecast broadcast on Zimbabwe’s state-run station, Mugabe said that the army intervention of Tuesday, November 15, 2017 was “triggered by concerns arising from their reading of the state of affairs in our country and in the ruling Zanu-PF party”.
The Zimbabwean military took over power on Tuesday, placing the nonagenarian under house arrest. This stunning action came after discontent over Mugabe’s succession plans to replace his vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa with his wife, Grace Mugabe.
A frail Mugabe reads his statement slowly and pauses frequently as he said that the country needed to return to normalcy.
He said “the pillars of state remained functional” amid the crisis, in which Zimbabweans rallied by the tens of thousands against him and ruling party leaders told him to step aside or face impeachment.
The sit-tight leader, who has been president of Zimbabwe since its independence in 1980, acknowledged that the country’s economy is going through a “difficult patch”.
President Mugabe said “the government remains committed to improving this social and material conditions of the people” and he believes the concerns were raised in the “spirit of honesty and out of deep and patriotic concern for the stability of our nation and welfare of our people”.
“We cannot be guided by bitterness,” he said as he clung to power.
‘I thank you and good night,’ the world’s longest ruling president ended his speech without announcing his resignation as had been widely anticipated.
Meanwhile, Zanu-PF has announced the former vice president as the new leader of the party. He went into exile two week ago after Mugabe fired him in a move to make way for his wife to be named veepee.
Party officials have threatened to begin impeachment proceedings against the president if he does not resign by noon on Monday.
The party also expelled Grace Mugabe, who was being primed to take over from her husband if he resigned or passed on.
A local politician, Chris Mutsvangwa, the chairman of the Zimbabwe War Veterans Association, who has been leading a campaign to oust Mugabe, told Reuters in a text message moments after the speech that people would take to the streets of Harare on Wednesday. He added that the sit-tight leader is “deaf and blind” to the desires of the people.
Saturday, thousands of people took to the streets of Harare to celebrate the military take-over and call for an end to the Mugabe era.
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