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Sacked Mugabe refuses to quit as president

Robert Mugabe refuses to resign in speech
Image: Robert Mugabe refused to resign in his speech

Robert Mugabe is facing impeachment after he called on Zimbabwe to “move forward” instead of announcing his resignation as president.

The state television broadcast baffled viewers as he was expected to make a resignation announcement on Sunday after meeting with army generals following his dismissal as leader of the ruling Zanu-PF party.

Robert Mugabe fails to quit in national address

He defied Zanu-PF and thousands of protesters by pledging to preside over the party’s next congress in December after he was told he had until noon local time on Monday to step down as president or face impeachment proceedings as early as Tuesday.

Pic: Herald newspaper
Image: Robert Mugabe meeting army generals at State House. Pic: Herald newspaper

Mr Mugabe acknowledged “a range of concerns” in his speech but made no mention of his own position following an apparent coup by the army earlier in the week.

He said the events of the last few days were not a threat to the constitution or his authority as head of state.

He said recent developments within Zanu-PF were “understandable” but said it could not be guided by “bitterness”.

The 93-year-old told viewers we must “learn to forgive”.

Robert Mugabe announces his resignation

He said: “Whatever the pros and cons of how they (the army) went about their operation, I do acknowledge their concerns.

“We must learn to forgive and resolve contradictions, real or perceived, in a comradely Zimbabwean spirit.”

He added: “The Government remains committed to improving the social and material conditions of the people.”

A Zanu-PF party official said they would 'bring back the crowds' if Mr Mugabe refuses to go

Chris Mustvangwa, the leader of Zimbabwe’s war veterans, said plans for impeachment would still go ahead and said protesters planned to take to the streets of Harare on Wednesday.

Zanu-PF’s chief whip Lovemore Matuke also said Mr Mugabe’s impeachment would still go ahead. He said: “The Central Committee decision stands until I am advised otherwise.”

Reacting to the speech on Sky News, Mr Mustvangwa said Mr Mugabe was “blind to what the people of Zimbabwe were saying to him”.

Thousands have been protesting against Robert Mugabe on the streets of Harare
Image: Thousands protested against Robert Mugabe on the streets of Harare on Saturday

Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said he was “baffled” by address amid the growing pressure for the president to stand down.

Sky News’ Senior Correspondent David Bowden said the situation was a “mess”.

Reacting to the TV address, he said: “It was an extraordinary ramble by an old man who seems to have just blazed on through… there was no hint of resignation. It was extraordinary and completely at odds with reality.”

The sacking of Emmerson Mnangagwa triggered the military uprising
Image: The sacking of Emmerson Mnangagwa triggered the military uprising

The speech follows Zanu-PF’s former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa being appointed as the new leader of the party.

And Mr Mugabe’s wife Grace, who is hugely unpopular in the country, is being expelled by Zanu-PF.

Reacting to Mr Mugabe’s dismissal as party leader earlier in the day, his son Chatunga Bellarmine Mugabe insisted “you can’t fire a revolutionary leader” and said Zanu-PF was “nothing” without his dad.

He wrote on Facebook: “Gushungo will always remain the champion of champions! Proud of you Gushungo, proud of dad. Gushungo always and forever to death.”

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    Far-right party to enter Austrian government

    Heinz-Christian Strache
    Image: The FPO’s Heinz-Christian Strache is tipped to be deputy chancellor

    Austria is set to become the only western European country with a far-right party in government.

    The head of the conservative People’s Party (OVP), Sebastian Kurz, has struck a coalition deal with the far-right Freedom Party (FPO).

    The FPO will take charge of the foreign, interior and defence ministries, among others, while its leader, 48-year-old Heinz-Christian Strache, will be deputy chancellor.

    Mr Kurz, 31, will be the youngest leader in Europe. His OVP will run ministries including finance and justice.

    When the OVP won Austria’s election on 15 October it did so with a hard line on immigration – a policy which often overlapped with that of the FPO.

    The FPO was third, taking 26% of the vote.

    “Nobody has anything to fear,” said the FPO’s secretary general and Austria’s next interior minister, Herbert Kickl.

    Sebastian Kurz
    Image: Sebastian Kurz says he wants to increase security and combat illegal immigraton

    Mr Kurz held a joint news conference with Mr Strache and told reporters: “Our aims are quite clear.

    “We want to ease the tax burden for people, we want to strengthen our economy, which will bolster our social system.”

    Mr Kurz, known as ‘wunderwuzzi’ or ‘whizz-kid’, added: “And first and foremost we want to increase security in our country, including by combating illegal immigration.”

    While Mr Kurz has said his administration will be pro-European, both he and Mr Strache have expressed doubts about further social integration.

    Sebastian Kurz
    Image: Mr Kurz, 31, is Europe’s youngest leader

    The two men presented their agreement to Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, a former Greens leader who narrowly beat the FPO in a presidential vote in 2015.

    Mr Van der Bellen, who has the right to reject ministers, has said a new government could be sworn in early next week if everything went to plan.

    Following their meeting, Mr Van der Bellen said they had agreed it was in Austria’s “national interest” to remain at the “centre of a strong European Union”.

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    The FPO’s success mirrors that of similar parties across Europe. Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party is now the second-largest in the Netherlands, the Front National in France was involved in a run-off for the presidency in May and representatives from Germany’s AfD have entered the Bundestag.

    When the FPO was last in government, under the late Joerg Haider, other EU countries imposed sanctions on Vienna in protest.

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