(Sourced from BBC World News and Sky News)
HARARE, NOV 21– Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party is set to begin impeachment proceedings later today against President Robert Mugabe on charges that include allowing his wife “to usurp constitutional power”.
A Zanu-PF official said a motion to strip him of the presidency would be presented to parliament on Tuesday, and the process could take just two days.
The motion accuses the 93-year-old of charges including allowing his wife Grace to “usurp constitutional power”.
Military leaders, who last week intervened, said he will meet his exiled former vice-president soon.
Emmerson Mnangagwa fled Zimbabwe after Mr Mugabe stripped him of his position, seen by many as a way clearing the way for his wife to succeed him as leader.
“I told the President that I would not return home now until I am satisfied of my personal security, because of the manner and treatment given to me upon being fired” – Emmerson Mnangagwa
The move riled top army officials, who stepped in and put Mr Mugabe under house arrest, though he nominally remains the president.
The military said they have planned a “roadmap” with Mr Mugabe for the future.
On Sunday, despite intense pressure Mr Mugabe surprised many by refusing to resign, instead in a TV speech vowing to preside over next month’s Zanu-PF party congress (See video below. Source-Sky News).
Speaking from an undisclosed location today, Mr Mnangagwa said the 93-year-old president should heed the “clarion call” of his people and step down.
“I told the President that I would not return home now until I am satisfied of my personal security, because of the manner and treatment given to me upon being fired,” he said in a statement.
A timeline of Zimbabwe’s political history-
1200-1600 – Era of the Monomotapa Empire, noted for international trade, gold mining and the construction of Great Zimbabwe, now a World Heritage site.
1889-23 – Cecil Rhodes and his British South Africa Company uses British mandate to colonise what becomes Southern Rhodesia.
1965 – Prime Minister Ian Smith unilaterally declares independence from Britain under white-minority rule, leading to international isolation.
1980 – Independence following lengthy guerrilla war. Zanu party wins elections and Robert Mugabe becomes prime minister.
1983-87 – Gukurahundi campaign, in which 20,000 are thought to have been killed in Matabeleland by Mugabe’s Fifth Brigade. The violence ends following a unity accord, when the Zapu party is absorbed into the renamed governing Zanu-PF party.
1998-2002 – Zimbabwe intervenes in civil war in DR Congo.
2000s – Land redistribution: White farmers forced off land.
2002 – Commonwealth suspends Zimbabwe after disputed presidential election.
2008 – Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai beats Mugabe in the presidential election but is forced to withdraw from a run-off after his supporters become the target of increased violence.
2009 – Mugabe’s Zanu-PF loses parliamentary majority forcing power-sharing deal with Tsvangirai’s MDC which lasts until 2013.
2017 November – Military announces that it is taking over.
Who is Robert Mugabe?
Robert Mugabe has served as prime minister of Zimbabwe since 1980, and has been the nation’s president since 1987. He has been re-elected to the presidency multiple times, but elections have reportedly been tainted by fraud and voter intimidation.
He was born on February 21, 1924, in Kutama, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). In 1963, he founded ZANU, a resistance movement against British colonial rule. In 1980, when British rule ended, Mugabe became prime minister of the new Republic of Zimbabwe. In 1987, he was elected president of Zimbabwe. After sharing power with Morgan Tsvangirai from 2008 to 2013, Mugabe again resumed control of the country, until efforts to oust him from power were launched in late 2017.
What is President Mugabe accused of?
“The main charge is that he has allowed his wife to usurp constitutional power when she has no right to run government. But she is insulting civil servants, the vice president, at public rallies. They are denigrating the army – those are the charges”- Paul Mangwana, MP
Impeachment proceedings are set to go ahead after a deadline set by the party for Mr Mugabe to stand down came and went.
Speaking outside a party meeting on Monday, member of parliament Paul Mangwana said of the president: “He is a stubborn man, he can hear the voices of the people, but is refusing to listen.”
Impeachment in Zimbabwe can only occur in specific scenarios, on grounds of “serious misconduct”, “violation” of the constitution or “failure to obey, uphold or defend” it, or “incapacity”.
“The main charge is that he has allowed his wife to usurp constitutional power when she has no right to run government. But she is insulting civil servants, the vice president, at public rallies. They are denigrating the army – those are the charges,” Mr Mangwana said.
“He has refused to implement the constitution of Zimbabwe – particularly we had elections for the provincial councils, but up to now they have not been put into office.
He added that the process – which some experts had thought would be lengthy – could be fast-tracked and completed by Wednesday, “because the charges are so clear”.
How does the impeachment work?
Votes are expected to be held in both the National Assembly and the Senate – Zimbabwe’s two parliamentary houses – on whether to begin impeachment proceedings.
If they pass by a simple majority, a joint committee from both chambers will be appointed to investigate removing the president.
Then, if the committee recommends impeachment, the president can then be removed if both houses back it with two-thirds majorities.
The opposition has tried and failed to remove Mr Mugabe using this process in the past. But now that the president has lost the support of his own ruling party and its overwhelming majority in both houses, reaching a two-thirds majority is achievable.
The vice-president would then take over Mr Mugabe’s position.
The military, which supports Mr Mnangagwa, would like to see him step into that role.
But when he was removed from office, Phelekezela Mphoko – a known supporter of Grace Mugabe – became vice-president, and in theory would assume the presidential role.
It is not clear if Mr Mnangagwa could be restored to his former position, and military leaders simply said the public would “be advised on the outcome of talks” between Mr Mugabe and his former deputy.
Reactions from Zimbabwean citizens-
The hashtag #Mugabe must go, is currently going viral through Zimbabwe, with citizens lauding the imminent transfer of power online and at the Africa Unity Square in Harare-
— Jo Makanda (@GoitsimangJo) November 21, 2017
A week ago, Africa Unity Square (opposite Zimbabwe’s Parliament) was riddled with riot police. Not anymore!
— Doug Coltart ✊🏽🇿🇼 (@DougColtart) November 21, 2017