Zimbabwe’s ZANU-PF party is reportedly planning an emergency meeting to dismiss the party leader and the country’s president, Robert Mugabe.
Reuters reported Saturday that the meeting, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. (0830 GMT) on Sunday, is to sack Mugabe. His wife and preferred successor, Grace, is also expected to be dismissed from her role as head of the ZANU-PF Women’s League.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, the vice-president Mugabe had dismissed, is to be reinstated, the report said.
Thousands of Zimbabweans took to the streets of the capital Harare Saturday to celebrate the expected downfall of Mugabe, although the aging leader, who has been under house arrest since Tuesday, is believed to be struggling to return to office.
An intervention by the army came after Mugabe fired his long-time deputy, prompting fears that he would finally position his unpopular wife to succeed him. He appeared at a graduation ceremony on Friday and was still called president. However, many say negotiations are underway to urge him to cede power and reports say he has asked for more time.
Zimbabwe’s state TV covered the Saturday protest against Mugabe, which some sources said attracted a bulk of Harare’s 1.6 million people. Many chanted slogans against the 93-year-old, who is the world’s oldest head of state and has served in the post for nearly four decades.
“This is the biggest day in the history of Zimbabwe,” said a demonstrator as others danced on the roofs of the cars and handed flags to soldiers, who accepted and waved.
A nephew of Mugabe said he had no intention of stepping down. Patrick Zhuwao said Mugabe and his wife were “ready to die for what is correct” and would never bow to this week’s military coup.
‘Africa region behind Zimbabweans’
The South African president said Saturday the African region would be committed to supporting “the people of Zimbabwe” amid the army takeover of the government.
Jacob Zuma said he was cautiously optimistic that the situation in South Africa’s neighbor could be resolved amicably.
Many say South Africa’s Saturday declaration of support for Zimbabweans could play a major role in Mugabe’s exit from power. South Africa is a key regional power with huge economic influence on other countries of Africa while it has its own history of frictions with Mugabe.