Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe defied expectations he would resign on Sunday, pledging to preside over a ZANU-PF congress next month even though the ruling party had removed him as its leader hours earlier.
ZANU-PF had given the 93-year-old less than 24 hours to quit as head of state or face impeachment, an attempt to secure a peaceful end to his tenure after a de facto coup.
Mugabe said in a address on state television that he acknowledged criticism against him from ZANU-PF, the military and the public, but did not comment on the possibility of standing down.
The leader of Zimbabwe’s war veterans said plans to impeach Mugabe would go ahead as scheduled.
Chris Mutsvangwa, who has been leading a campaign to oust Mugabe, said moments after Mugabe finished his speech that people would take to the streets of Harare on Wednesday.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former state security chief known as “The Crocodile,” who Mugabe sacked earlier this month is now in line to head an interim unity government that will focus on rebuilding ties with the outside world and stabilising an economy in freefall.
Mugabe is the only leader Zimbabwe has known since independence from Britain in 1980 but his support has crumbled in the four days since the army seized power.