Zimbabwe ruling party tells Mugabe to resign or face ouster

HARARE, Zimbabwe — A Zimbabwe ruling party official has confirmed that the party’s Central Committee has fired 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe as party leader and replaced him with the recently dismissed Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The party said Mugabe must resign as president by noon Monday or impeachment proceedings would begin.

The move marked the latest development in the long-time autocrat’s slow dismissal from power following a military coup last week.

The emergency meeting of the committee has also removed first lady Grace Mugabe from leadership of the ZANU-PF party’s women’s league “forever.”

The meeting continued Sunday afternoon.

Mugabe himself met Sunday with army commander Constantino Chiwenga, who put him under house arrest last week, for a second round of negotiations on his departure as president after nearly four decades.

A member of Zimbabwe’s ruling party said there could be prosecutions of members of a party faction close to Grace Mugabe.

Lawmaker Emmanuel Fundira also said he thought Mnangagwa’s reinstatement and selection to lead Zimbabwe after Mugabe’s expected resignation was a “fait accompli.”

Fundira said “corrupt and rotten” leaders in the ruling party should be punished. “There are some resources which have been taken away from this country,” Fundira said. “Naturally, the laws will follow up and make sure that all those people are brought to book.”

The Central Committee meeting opened in the capital Harare with an announcement by its chairman, Obert Mpofu that it would remove Mugabe, a statement that drew a standing ovation from committee members.

Mpofu said the members were meeting with “a heavy heart” because Mugabe had served the country and contributed “many memorable achievements.”

But, Mpofu said, Mugabe’s wife “and close associates have taken advantage of his frail condition” to loot national resources.

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