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Mugabe passes deadline to resign

China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-21 08:07

HARARE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe ignored a midday deadline set by the ruling party to step down or face impeachment proceedings, as the influential Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association said on Monday it would invite Zimbabweans back into the streets for more protests until Mugabe steps down.

The association spoke after Mugabe failed to announce his resignation as widely expected in a televised address to the nation on Sunday night.

ZNLWVA chairman Christopher Mutsvangwa told a news conference that Mugabe should stop pretending that things were normal in the country after the military "stepped in" to weed out "criminals" surrounding him, whom it accused of committing crimes that threatened national security.

"If Mugabe refuses to step down, we are going back to the people and calling on them to come back onto the streets. Last time about 1.5 million people participated in the streets and this time we want even more support. We will stage a sit-in until Mugabe is gone. We will not leave Harare until he is gone," Mutsvangwa said.

Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans took to the streets of Harare on Saturday to call on Mugabe to resign.

Mugabe was recalled from the ruling ZANU-PF party as its leader and given until noon on Monday to step down or face impeachment.

But in his national address on Sunday night, Mugabe said he would chair the party's extraordinary congress next month to address challenges afflicting the party.

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

He said he agreed with the army generals that the infighting in the party was hurting the national economy.

Expulsion nullified

At the same meeting, the ruling party also nullified expulsion of former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa and restored him as member of the central committee.

Mnangagwa and first lady Grace Mugabe have been contending to succeed Mugabe.

The military intervened and took over control of the country after Mugabe sacked Mnangagwa as his deputy for alleged disloyalty and deceit. Mnangagwa had been Mugabe's political ally for more than 40 years.

Mutsvangwa said the war veterans association had instituted court action to legalize the military action against Mugabe after the army seized power on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, events of the past week surrounding the fate of Mugabe have put tremendous pressure on the mobile networks as people chose to stay on social media to be in the loop. State-owned NetOne said on Monday that its network experienced congestion.

"We would like to inform all our valued customers that we are currently experiencing high data usage and congestion on the network. We are doing all the best we can to address the issue," a message posted to NetOne's subscribers said.

Xinhua - China Daily

(China Daily 11/21/2017 page12)

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