Harare – President Robert Mugabe addressed his country via live television but did not resign as expected.
Mugabe has widely been expected to resign, and a Reuters report earlier stated that Mugabe had agreed to step down.
Mugabe’s party, Zanu PF recalled him as President, and fired him as first secretary, replacing him with Emmerson Mnangagwa, who he fired just last week.
We were told earlier, that Mugabe had received a 24-hour ultimatum to either resign or face impeachment on Tuesday.
But a defiant Mugabe did not resign, although he appeared jittery throughout the entire speech, failing to pronounce a number of words, and skipping pages completely.
He however noted, in his address, the immense economic decline that has grappled the country. He noted the concerns raised by citizens of the country, which he commented should be addressed.
Mugabe denied the army had instigated a coup, by stating that the army had remained respectful towards him, and had acted within the constitutional guidelines.
The speech by Mugabe, which was initially assumed to put an end to the anxiety many Zimbabweans have felt on the streets, unsure who was in power. It only added confusion.
A Zanu PF insider we spoke to insisted that the pages Mugabe had skipped were the ones where he meant to resign.
“It was an act of defiance. You could see the general tried to show him which pages to read. But he intentionally jumped over them.” he said.
Journalist and political analyst, Watson Munyaka, explained that Mugabe did this to make sure he leaves with one last display of defiance.
“He had a chance to leave today. But he decided to remain defiant. It seems he sold the army a dummy, pretending to want to leave gracefully.”
At the end of the day, Mugabe said nothing. It is unclear if Zanu PF, which fired him, will move to impeach him on Tuesday.
On the streets of Harare, several people left city nightclubs dejected. Many had gathered in the city, waiting to celebrate after the announcement. But the balloons did not pop, and the champagne will have to be used another day.