HARARE, Zimbabwe — It was the resignation speech that did not happen.
Robert Mugabe, 93, who ruled Zimbabwe with an iron grip until the military took over and placed him under house arrest, stunned the nation on Sunday night with a nearly 20-minute address in which he refused to say whether he would resign.
Many political observers and fellow Zimbabweans had been waiting for Mr. Mugabe to step down as president after nearly 40 years in power. But sitting at a table while flanked by members of the military and other officials, the embattled president said he would preside over the party congress, scheduled to take place in a few weeks.
Mr. Mugabe made the non-announcement in a televised address to the southern African nation about 9 p.m. local time after intense negotiations at the State House with the country’s Army generals about the conditions of his what was expected to be his departure.
His speech came hours after he was expelled as leader of his own governing party, ZANU-PF, which gave him until noon Monday to resign or face impeachment by Parliament.
Officials earlier barred his wife, Grace Mugabe, widely viewed as his likely successor, from the party for life.