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BREAKING: Zimbabwe’s Ruling Party Sacks Mugabe, Appoints Mnangawa As New Leader

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UPDATE: Zimbabwe’s ruling party, Zanu-PF has taken to social media to celebrate the appointment of Emmerson Mnamgawa as its news leader. Mnamgawa was formally named the new leader of the party after Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe was sacked by the party on Sunday, November 19, 2017.

“Zimbabwe is now stable, please retweet to welcome our new leader comrade Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa,” the party said on Twitter about 13 minutes ago.

Original Report at 1.500pm: Zimbabwe’s ruling party on Sunday, November 19, 2017 sacked President Robert Mugabe as its leader, officials say.

Zanu-PF has appointed ex-vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had been fired by Mr Mugabe two weeks ago.

This decision is not surprising. Zanu-PF’s Twitter account made the announcement on November 15, 2017, on the day that the military took over the seat of power in the south-eastern African country.

The sacking of Mr Mnangagwa had prompted an extraordinary chain of events as the military intervened to block Mr Mugabe, 93, from installing his wife, Grace, in his place.

Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe and his deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa when the two were in power together

The first lady has been expelled from the party altogether.

Mr Mugabe is set to meet military leaders on Sunday and a motorcade has been seen leaving his private residence.

Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans had attended street protests on Saturday, demonstrating against the Mugabes.

BBC correspondent Andrew Harding, at the Zanu-PF meeting, tweeted a video of people dancing after the decision to remove Mr Mugabe was taken.

He said cheering erupted as the decision was announced, although the move has yet to be formalised.

But it increases further the pressure on Mr Mugabe that has been building over the past few days, and there are now moves to impeach him as president if he does not resign.

Streets Protests Calling For End Of Mugabe Era

Harare was the scene of a massive street party on Saturday, November 18, 2017 as tens of thousands of joyful Zimbabweans turned out to show their support for this week’s military takeover and urge long-time leader Robert Mugabe to step down.

In unprecedented numbers jubilant protesters packed the city centre, which was a sea of brightly-coloured Zimbabwean flags, with people draped in them, flying them from their cars and women even wearing them in their braids.

Others hung precariously off the back of trucks or perched on top of minibuses, many with Zimbabwe’s strong local beer, Chibuku, in hand.

Mugabe
Robert Mugabe delivers a speech during a graduation ceremony at the Zimbabwe Open University in Harare on Friday, Nov 17, 2017 his first public appearance since the military takeover

Unlike previous demonstrations in Harare, which have been violently shut down, there was no police presence. Soldiers in camouflage uniforms sat astride their armoured personnel carriers smiling and taking selfies with the crowd.

People carried humorous banners that would never have been allowed in the past. Many mocked Mugabe and his wife Grace who is widely loathed for her political ambitions and was often derided as “Gucci Grace” and “First Shopper” for her expensive taste.

“Gucci rags, pack your bags,” one sign read, while another stated, “G40 pay back the money!” – a reference to Generation 40, a powerful political faction led by Grace, and the target of Wednesday’s coup.

Protesters were seen carrying a fake coffin for Mugabe, while others tore down a street sign bearing his name.

Zimbabwe Mugabe
People hold an anti-Grace Mugabe placard during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Zimbabwe’s president on November 18, 2017 in Harare. | AFP PHOTO / ZINYANGE AUNTONYZINYANGE AUNTONY/AFP/Getty Images

Some people carried banners reading “Mugabe must leave Zimbabwe” and “Bob’s not your uncle” as well as placards thanking the military.

Zimbabwe’s army seized power in a bloodless coup this week, placing Mugabe, 93, under house arrest and detaining some of his allies. He is said to be resisting calls to step aside and negotiations are ongoing.

The army wants an interim government set up and for elections to then be held.

A second set of talks between Mugabe and the military is due to take place on Sunday, Zimbabwe’s state broadcaster reported on Saturday evening.

Among those attending the talks will be a priest who has been mediating, Fidelis Mukonori, a representative of the intelligence agencies, and a representative from the Ministry of Information.

“He risks being impeached on Tuesday by parliament if he remains adamant,” a source in the negotiations told dpa.

Black and white Zimbabweans, young and old, mixed as they made their way through the city to Mugabe’s home, State House.

“We’re here because we’re celebrating – we just want Mugabe to go,” said Shadrack, a 35-year-old unemployed man. “We thank the generals. This is a new independence day!”

Many posters also featured Emmerson Mnangagwa, better known as “The Crocodile,” Mugabe’s long-time deputy and Grace Mugabe’s main competition in the race to succeed the president.

A group of friends were heard singing, “it all started with the ice cream,” a reference to Mnangagwa’s recent accusation that Grace had given him poisoned ice cream at a party.

Street vendors selling anti-Mugabe paraphernalia were doing a roaring trade hawking t-shirts and berets printed with #stepdown, while strangers hugged each other, shouting: “We are free!”

“We want a new Zimbabwe,” said Tina, a white Zimbabwean in her 50s, who was marching alongside her young daughter. “We want everyone to unite and get this country back on track.”

A 28-year-old accountant named Lisbon told dpa that “Zimbabweans are very happy – any change is good for now.”

The influential War Veterans Association had organized the rally, which saw political foes joining together. Opposition Movement for Democratic Change supporters as well as Zanu-PF supporters all united in a show of force against the Mugabe family.

“We are now uniting a big chunk of Zimbabwe’s population,” said Chris Mutsvangwa, head of the war veterans.

It was a day many Zimbabweans had never seen coming or only dreamt of. For those under 37, Mugabe is the only leader they have ever known.

Click on any image to enlarge

Hattip to BBC, DPA-International

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