The leaders of Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party will meet on Sunday to approve the dismissal of President Robert Mugabe, the only leader the southern African nation has known since independence 37 years ago, two party sources have said.
An extraordinary meeting of the party’s central committee is expected to convene around 10:30 a.m. (0830 GMT) to consider removing the 93-year-old, four days after a military seizure of power ostensibly aimed at “criminals” within his entourage.
Separately, state television said Mugabe would meet military commanders on Sunday, quoting the Catholic priest who has been mediating in negotiations with the president.
On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people flooded the streets of Harare, singing, dancing and hugging soldiers in an outpouring of elation at Mugabe’s overthrow.
ZANU-PF’s central committee is also expected to reinstate Emmerson Mnangagwa as party vice-president, resurrecting the political career of the former security chief, nicknamed The Crocodile, whose sacking this month triggered the military’s intervention.
Mugabe’s wife, Grace, will be fired as head of the ZANU-PF Women’s League, the sources told Reuters, completing the demise of a 52-year-old former government typist who just a week ago stood in pole position to succeed her husband after Mnangagwa’s dismissal.
The pair’s stunning downfall is likely to send shockwaves across Africa, where a number of entrenched strongmen, from Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni to Democratic Republic of Congo’s Joseph Kabila, are facing mounting pressure to step aside.