Zimbabwe’s ruling party voted Sunday to oust President Robert Mugabe, one day after thousands marched in the streets to demand his resignation.
The ZANU-PF party voted in an emergency session at its Harare headquarters to oust the 93-year-old president, who has been under house arrest following a military takeover Wednesday, and replace him as party leader with Emmerson Mnangagwa, the previously-fired vice president.
Cheers could be heard from outside the party headquarters after the vote.
The party was also considering Sunday whether to recommend the country’s Parliament begin impeachment proceedings against the embattled president.
Mugabe, who has been in office for 37 years, was expected to meet Sunday with military leaders as part of ongoing efforts to negotiate his exit from office. Military leaders have sought to strike a deal that would involve Mugabe’s resignation, but he has thus far resisted any agreement.
Mugabe’s nephew, Indigenization Minister Patrick Zhuwao, said the president “is willing to die for his principles.”
“He is willing to die to protect the constitution,” CNN quoted him as saying.
Mugabe removed Mnangagwa on Nov. 6 as part of an attempt to install his wife, Grace Mugabe, as the country’s next leader.
The ZANU-PF party voted to remove Grace Mugabe as head of the party’s Woman’s League and she was barred for life from the party alongside several officials in the Mugabe government.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Harare and other Zimbabwean cities on Saturday to demand Mugabe’s resignation. The demonstrators waved signs reading “Mugabe Must Rest Now” and “No to Mugabe Dynasty.” Amid army tanks and soldiers, people waved Zimbabwean flags outside the State House.
By Ben Hooper