After defying calls to step down, Zimbabwe’s leader, Robert Mugabe, now faces a noon deadline on Monday to resign or be impeached.
In a live televised address to the nation on Sunday night, Mugabe, who has been under house arrest since a military coup last week expected to resign but instead promised to lead a conference of the ruling Zanu-PF party in December.
With the generals responsible seated next to him, Mugabe gave a lengthy speech acknowledging some problems with the economy and the Zanu-PF party – from which he was ousted earlier in the day – but making no mention of leaving office.
Shocked Zimbabweans have taken to Twitter to express outrage, and on Monday the powerful war veterans’ association held a news conference calling for mass protests on Wednesday.
“I hope that 37 years into his rule, he doesn’t want another 37 seconds of rule,’’ said war veterans’ leader Chris Mutsvangwa.
On Sunday, Mugabe, 93, the president of almost four decades, was sacked as ZANU- PF party leader and replaced by one-time comrade now arch-rival Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The party gave him an ultimatum of Monday midday (1000 GMT) to resign or face impeachment proceedings in parliament.
“Arrogant Mugabe disregards Zanu-PF,” screamed Monday’s headline in local newspaper The Daily News.
On Saturday, in an unprecedented outpouring, tens of thousands of Zimbabweans had taken to the streets to express support for the military and call on Mugabe to leave power immediately.