Log in
Free: The Observer Mobile App - Exclusive Content and Services

Protesters in Zimbabwe call for Mugabe to resign

Thousands of demonstrators in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, and in other cities around the country Saturday are calling for President Robert Mugabe’s resignation.

Mugabe, 93, is reported to be resisting demands from the army, members of his own ZANU-PF party, and political activists to step down after 37 years in power.

Protestors marching against President Robert Mugabe and First Lady Grace Mugabe in Harare today. Photo: @ThreeMenOnAboat

The Zimbabwe Defense Forces seized key state institutions Wednesday, confined Mugabe to house arrest and clamped down on those they termed thieves surrounding the president, including Professor Jonathan Moyo, Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo, Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, ZANU-PF Youth League secretary Kudzanayi Chipanga and several others.

The detainees, who are in army barracks, are said to be members of a faction of the ruling party that were seeking to elevate first lady Grace Mugabe to the post of vice president. President Mugabe fired his longtime ally, Emmerson Mnangagwa, from the position November 5.

Mugabe made a public appearance Friday, his first since the military took over state institutions and opened talks aimed at getting the aged leader to resign.

Mugabe, wearing a blue and yellow academic gown, presided over a university graduation ceremony for more than 1,000 students in Harare. The president appeared to fall asleep at times and said nothing about the ongoing political uncertainty.

Demands intensify

Members of opposition groups are expressing frustration with the pace of negotiations over Mugabe’s political future.

Christopher Mutsvangwa, chairperson of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association, told journalists that Saturday’s protests are designed to push the president out of office.

Anti-Mugabe protestors in Harare

Jacob Ngarivhume of opposition group Transform Zimbabwe said hopes of Mugabe leaving office are slowly dissipating.

“There is no way he should be allowed to continue holding power,” Ngarivhume told VOA’s Zimbabwe service.

“If he were to do that, then Zimbabwe would be in trouble. What I see happening is there might be a dragging on of the discussion around his departure, but eventually … he must go. He has outlived his usefulness.”

Former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who leads the Movement for Democratic Change party, joined the calls for Mugabe to resign.

“Mr. Robert Mugabe must resign, step down immediately in line with the national sentiment and expectation, taking full regard of his legacy and contribution to Zimbabwe, pre and post Zimbabwe,” said Tsvangirai, who returned to the country this week from South Africa, where he is being treated for cancer.

Mugabe hanging on

There has been no indication Mugabe will voluntarily give up power. Nick Mangwana, who is the Britain-based representative of ZANU-PF, told VOA “President Mugabe remains President Mugabe as of now.”

Mugabe is the only leader the nation has known since Zimbabwe won independence in 1980, and has turned back many previous challenges to his rule, often using the army, police and physical violence from supporters to intimidate opponents.

His hold appeared strong even as Zimbabwe’s economy, which has struggled for years, suffered a new downturn during the past 12 months. Last December, the ruling ZANU-PF party nominated him as its presidential candidate for the 2018 elections.

The turning point was the firing of Mnangagwa, 75, a liberation war hero who maintains strong support among veterans.

Mnangagwa’s current whereabouts are uncertain, though he is widely believed to be in South Africa.

As for the president, the Zimbabwe Defense Forces said Friday it is “currently engaging with the commander-in-chief, President Mugabe, on the way forward and will advise the nation as soon as possible.”


0 #1 Akot 2017-11-18 14:45
Thank you Zimbabweans for coming out because it's only the power of a people that brings down monsters!

It's now or never, that Zimbabwe needs real leadership to conclude the change set in motion by the army - only UNITY of the people can conclude & allow a start!

If the last 37 years has been so hursh for millions & lost meaning of Independence, then this is time for you to UNITE & throw Mugabe out, then make sure you, the people, will always decide as to how/who governs!

Morgan Tsvangirai was in Kampala (Uganda) where you had an office for your liberation struggle & saw how Uganda could have been 1 of the best run countries in Africa yet, she never really taken off & concretised!

A people MUST know what they want as leadership/country & make sure they get it through UNITY, for commpon purpose, for the sake of their children!
Report to administrator
+2 #2 edward mukyanda 2017-11-18 16:16
It is common sense that no politician will be loved by the majority for all the time.

So why would one fail to realize that?, but only think of changing constitutions until circumstances will force him out at a time when one who was a hero is regarded as a villain/tyrant.

Many will pretend to be with you, but when the bad times come most will be like Peter towards Jesus, very few will be like Ruth towards Naomi

Mugabe is gone. The next on the African list of tyrants pretending to be angels is a public secret.
Report to administrator
0 #3 Akot 2017-11-18 18:31
edward mukyanda, agreed, yet,

In Mugabe's case, he can still be a hero if he stands down instead of being impeached by parliament; more so the army respects him & the country & want a peaceful end to this long awaited end of misrule by the former hero!

Zimbabweans are the only ones to conclude this & by coming out in peace to back parliament to help the army conclude, the people will be the WINNERS, in UNITY, against dictatorship!

Now it's up to parliament to impeach Mugabe or if he want"s to be considered a hero till the end, he can stand down NOW & save not only himself, but the country & his children who will live in the country, especially after their father is dead!
Report to administrator
+1 #4 rubangakene 2017-11-18 22:01
That is what happens when the so-called Ugandan "liberators" (the real liberators were TZ soldiers) start insulting and fleecing their own citizens of their only birth right; freedom, human right, land and property.

Let Zimbabwe be a warning to all who think they are invincible because the army is behind them.
Report to administrator
+1 #5 gwok 2017-11-19 01:58
[quote name="Akot"]Thank you Zimbabweans for coming out because it's only the power of a people that brings down monsters! ....quote]

I agree. Please watch this Zim development carefully and in relation to our own. The Zim ruling party (ZANU-PF) saw the writing on the wall. The Mugabe's personalsed army saw the same.

The Mugabe tribe (the Shona) saw the same. All three want to save their own skins.

Since Mr. Mugabe could not remove himself power, they removed him, just in the same way as when the mountain refused to come to Jesus, he went to the mountain instead.

Dear NRM, the tribe & the UG armies [there are many of them] please read that Zim wall well.
Report to administrator
0 #6 Akot 2017-11-19 17:30
gwok, thanks!

Yet, Unity of Ugandans is more needed because museveni is a former asylum seeker who is looking for a country to call his own & Ugandans won't be part of this!

Why did museveni restore tribal rules & tribally divided a people in a country he does not have tribal land?

Many of us saw how Zimbabweans who were not ZANU-PF in Uganda just Joined Mugabe to consolidate their call for Independence & concluded!

Today, Zimbabweans Joined hands again to mank their stand!

But Ugandans maintain the tribalistic system of rule that keeps their common enemy in power!

If Mugabe who is Zimbabwean says he will never stand down, how can Ugandans expect museveni who wants a country of his own for his people do so?

Mugabe is not even aware he is alone!
Report to administrator
0 #7 Akot 2017-11-19 17:53
rubangakene, agreed, but,

Don't forget Uganda is under foreign occupation & museveni wants to own/make it home for his people!

This is not so for Mugabe who is throw out by his own people in a country that belongs to them ALL!

Tribal leaders Must stand down & bring down the tribalistic system keeping museveni in power! Then & only then, will there be a start of National Consciousness!

Zimbabweans are not tribally divided with tribal leaders keeping mugabe in power!
Report to administrator

Comments are now closed for this entry