Mugabe ousted as ruling Zanu-PF party chief

Sunday November 19 2017

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was on Sunday facing the imminent end of his 37-year rule as the once-loyal Zanu-PF party sacked him as its leader and army generals piled pressure on him to resign.

President Mugabe's grip on power was broken last week when the military took over, angered at his wife Grace's emergence as the leading candidate to succeed the 93-year-old president.

On Saturday, tens of thousands of overjoyed demonstrators flooded the streets of Zimbabwe in peaceful celebrations marking the apparent end of his long and authoritarian rule.

Outside a Zanu-PF meeting in Harare, a delegate told AFP that President Mugabe had been ousted as party chief and replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was previously Grace Mugabe's chief rival to succeed the ageing president.

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"A resolution has been adopted to recall the president and elevate Mnangagwa as the party president," said the delegate, who declined to be named.

President Mugabe — the world's oldest head of state — remains national president for the time being but now faces overwhelming opposition from the generals, much of the Zimbabwean public and from his own party.

"(Mugabe's) wife and close associates have taken advantage of his frail condition to usurp power and loot state resources," party official Obert Mpofu told the Zanu-PF meeting.

Army chiefs who led the takeover were due to hold further talks with the president later Sunday. (AFP)