At a well attended ceremony in the capital Harare stadium, Zimbabwe’s new President who replaces former President Robert Mugabe has been sworn in.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa praised outgoing leader Robert Mugabe as “the father of the nation” during his inauguration address on Friday.
Before a crowd of thousands, the newly inaugurated President said, “Let me at this stage pay tribute to one of the, and the only surviving, founding fathers of our nation, comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe. “Let us all accept and acknowledge his immense contribution to the building of our nation.”
Mnangagwa promised that all foreign investments will be safe in Zimbabwe. “As we build a new democratic Zimbabwe we ask those who have punished us in the past, to reconsider their political and economic sanctions… Let this make way for a new beginning. SADC is our home… and we commit ourselves to further its vision and ideals.”
Mnangagwa’s inauguration marks the end of a tumultuous series of events from an unprecedented statement by the Army Chief General Constantino Chiwengo in which he warned the ruling party and President Mugabe about the “purge” of loyalists following the dismissal of Mnangagwa by Mugabe to the Army detaining Mugabe and his wife Grace and the start of Parliamentary impeachment proceedings which precipitated the resignation of President Mugabe on Tuesday.
The new Zimbabwe’s President who is is a former Defense Minister promised to fight corruption and said, “the culture of government must change, and change now.”
President Mnangagwa promised that “democratic” elections will be held next year as scheduled.
Opposition activists are, however, calling for electoral and other reforms and the release of all political prisoners before the holding of elections.
Shortly before the inaugural ceremonies, the Army Commander General Chiwengo arrived to cheers from the crowd in the stadium.
President Mnangagwa has asked Zimbabweans to avoid retribution and has promised to provided maximum protection for former President Robert Mugabe who remains in the country.
His resignation comes in the midst of impeachment proceedings triggered by the members of Parliament of the ruling Zanu PF.
In power for 37 years, the veteran African leader was under heavy pressure to step aide. The military of the southern African nation over a week ago inserted itself in the political situation and called for a stop to Mugabe’s purge of the ruling party.
Zimbabweans Celebrating in Harare
I, Robert Gabriel Mugabe in terms of section 96 of the constitution of Zimbabwe hereby formally tender my resignation… with immediate effect,” the letter read said.
Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans marched over the weekend to call for Mugabe’s resignation. In his resignation letter read by the Speaker of Parliament, Mugabe did not say who is in charge of the country.
The ruling Zanu PF has installed dismissed Vice President Emnerson Mnangagwa as it’s leader. Mugabe, who had earlier fired the VP, had called Mnangagwa to return for talks but the overture was declined.
Mnangagwa instead called on Mugabe to step down immediately.
West African Journal Magazine is monitoring citizens celebrations in the capital Harare following Mugabe’s resignation.
According to the Washington Post, Mugabe resignation leaves Zimbabwe at a crossroads – with the military technically in charge of the country, but with a wide array of political groups now angling for power. Former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was fired by Mugabe earlier this month, appears most likely to inherit the presidency, at least in the short term.
Social media is reacting to the news of Mugabe”s resignation.
Despite reports of the resignation of long time Zimbabwean leader Robert G. Mugabe on Sunday following pressure from the military and calls for him to step down by tens of thousands of citizens over the weekend, the veteran leader has made a defiant televised speech insisting that he will preside over the next ruling Zanu-PF Congress in December.
On Sunday, the Central Committee of the party removed Mr. Mugabe as leader and replaced him with former Vice President Emmerson Mnagagwa who was dismissed by Mugabe.
On Sunday afternoon, Mugabe met with army generals at his residence as part of talks aimed at his exit. News circulated that the 93 year old veteran leader had resigned and would address the nation. However, in a rather defiant speech, he made no mention of his exit.
Reports from multiple news sources say that the U.S. and China were aware of the “military coup”. But there has been no official admission from the two countries of their knowledge of the plan to remove Mugabe from power
According to the City Press in Harare, Army Chief Constantino Chiwengo traveled to China two weeks ago as part of the secretive grand plot and to obtain assurances from China about its continuous economic engagement and support for the impending change. Chiwengo reportedly told Mugabe that he was traveling for medical follow up
South Africa and China have denied that they had prior information about the military take-over in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabweans are in disbelief at the defiant stance of Mugabe. It is unclear what the next steps are if he refuses to stand down. War veterans who have become disenchanted with Mugabe in recent years have given him until Monday to resign.
Latest reports from Reuters say ZANU PF Chief Whip Lovemore Matuke has announced that party members in Parlianent are set to meet later on Monday to start the process of impeachment against Mugabe.
It was reported earlier that Mugabe had prepared a draft resignation letter but has not signed nor delivered it.
According to latest reports coming into West African Journal Magazine, Zanu PF says it has informed President Mugabe Monday if it’s decision to recall him as President of the country and as First Secretary of the ruling party.
According to a letter seen by the West African Journal Magazine, the Chief Whip of the party in Parliament is to proceed with the impeachment process.
There is no word from President Mugabe on this latest development.
Harare – News reports say two leaders of Zanu-PF’s Generation 40 (G40) faction – Political Commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo have reportedly been arrested by the Zimbabwean military.
Kasukuwere and Moyo were reportedly picked up from President Robert Mugabe’s Borrowdale mansion. They had been seeking refuge there since the military stepped in Wednesday.
The Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) on Wednesday announced that it had taken over the country and was keeping Mugabe and his family under guard at his home as the military was getting rid of the “criminals” around the nonagenarian.
On Monday, the Zimabwe Defence Forces warned President Mugabe against the purge of party veterans, adding that it would step in if it continued.
Reports by multiple outlets say that the military is picking up ministers and members of the party who are allied to First Lady Grace Mugabe who was maneuvering to position herself to succeed the elderly Mugabe.
The G 40 faction is said to have engineered the dismissal of former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
In an interview with the AFP in Paris, the African Union (AU) Chair President Apha Conde of Guinea rejected any attempt at the unconstitutional removal of President Mugabe, saying “We demand respect for the constitution, a return to the constitutional order and we will never accept the military coup d’état.”
“We know there are internal problems. They need to be resolved politically by the Zanu-PF party and not with an intervention by the army,” according to Conde.
President Robert Mugabe is insisting he remains Zimbabwe’s only legitimate ruler, an intelligence source said on Thursday, and is resisting mediation by a Catholic priest to allow his exit.
President Mugabe had been given an opportunity to negotiate an exit that included state protection together with his family. He has been meeting with Army Chief Constantino Chiwenga and other mediators at State House on Thursday.
According to multiple news sources, President Robert Mugabe is confined to his home and is safe. President Jacob Zuma of South Africa has spoken to him by telephone.
The military continues to strengthen it’s grip in key areas around the capital with reports that it now controls the airport and police depots around Harare.
Unconfirmed but multiple reports say that the ousted Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who fled to South African last week after his firing by Mugabe is expected to return to head an interim government. The ruling Zanu PF says he is now the head of the party.
The military has reportedly detained some members of the Police.
Zimbabwean Military detaining Police in Harare
The UK, Canada and US are all urging their citizens in Zimbabwe to stay indoors.
Although the military continues to deny that it’s operations are a military coup to end the nearly four decades rule of Mugabe, the situation on the ground says otherwise.
South African President Jacob Zuma has announced that, due to the seriousness of the situation, his country will mediate in the crisis and is sending his defense and security minister to Zimbabwe.
President Zuma is calling on the Zimbabwean military to respect the country’s constitution South Africa has always supported the Mugabe regime and maintains significant military and economic clout in the region.
STATEMENT ON THE SITUATION IN ZIMBABWE FROM THE SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENCY READS AS FOLLOWS:
President Jacob Zuma, in his capacity as chair of SADC (the Southern African Development Community), is sending special envoys to Zimbabwe and Angola in light of the unfolding situation in the Republic of Zimbabwe.
The president is sending the minister of defence and military veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and the minister of state security, Adv Bongani Bongo, to Zimbabwe to meet Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwean Defence Force.
President Zuma spoke to President Robert Mugabe earlier today, who indicated that he was confined to his home, but said that he was fine. South Africa is also in contact with the ZDF.
The special envoys will also be sent to the Republic of Angola to see President João Lourenço, chair of the SADC organ on politics, defence and security, to brief him on the situation.
President Zuma has reiterated his call for calm and restraint and for the ZDF to ensure that peace and stability are not undermined in Zimbabwe.
SADC will continue to monitor the situation closely.
Appearing in Parliament Wednesday, the Guardian website quotes Prime Minister Theresa May as saying the situation in Zimbabwe was still fluid and urged restraint on both sides. Prime Minister May is calling for the avoidance of violence, and said the primary concern was for British nationals in Zimbabwe.
International news outlets are quoting reports that First Lady Grace Mugabe is out of the country in Namibia. This is yet to be confirmed.
West African Journal Magazine is monitoring the situation in Zimbabwe and can report that the military has just issued a statement saying it intends to address the human security threats to Zimbabwe and urged other security agencies to cooperate for the good of the country.
The military says President Mugabe and his family are said to be safe but that they are targeting “criminals” around him.
The army spokesperson said the military operation was not a take over.
Earlier, the BBC and France 24 reported that soldiers have taken over the headquarters of Zimbabwe’s national broadcaster, ZBC, amid a growing political crisis.
The US State Department is advising it’s citizens in Zimbabwe to “shelter in” due to the political situation. The UK embassy also issued an advisory to British citizens to also stay home/indoors
Explosions have also been reported in the capital, Harare, but the cause is unclear.
Very little official information is filtering out of Zimbabwe on the situation there tonight.
Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti posted on Twitter a short while ago that “something is definitely happening. This might be the elusive tipping point.”
West African Journal Magazine will continue to monitor news on developments in Zimbabwe.
West African Journal Magazine is monitoring reports of military movements in the southern African nation of Zimbabwe.
According to reports on international wire services and social media, which are still unconfirmed, Army Chief General Constantino Chiwenga has reportedly given President Robert G. Mugabe 24 hours to resign his office.
This follows President Mugabe’s dismissal of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week. Reports say army units have been moving tanks into and around the center of the capital Harare and that the national broadcaster was surrounded.
General Chiwenga, in a statement on Monday, demanded a “stop” to the purge in the ruling Zanu-PF party after the sacking of vice president Emmerson Mnangangwa, and warned the military could intervene.
“We must remind those behind the current treacherous shenanigans that when it comes to matters of protecting our revolution, the military will not hesitate to step in,” Chiwenga told top army officials on Monday at the King George VI military headquarters in Harare.
The East Afrika Daily website reports that President Mugabe was chairing a regular cabinet meeting on Tuesday and has made no comment.
There has been tension in the ruling Zanu-PF party amidst internal feuding and talk of plans by the veteran Zimbabwean leader to have his wife and First Lady Grace Mugabe replace him.
Witnesses are quoted as saying they have seen uniformed soldiers posted at various street corners on Tuesday. There are fears that a military coup is underway.
A Zanu-PF Youth League official, at a news conference on Tuesday, says party youths are prepared to come out in their “millions” to defend the Mugabe regime from a military coup and accused the Army Chief General Chiwenga of collaborating with dismissed former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to topple President Mugabe and seize power.
Opposition member and former Finance Minister in a Twitter post blasted the latest developments in Zimbabwe saying, ” the overwhelming presence of the army on our streets is totally unwelcome and reflective of the unraveling of the securocratic State. We all know none of them have the guts to carry out a coup. So Army presence should not be the regime’s excuse for declaring a State of Emergency.”
Meantime, the ruling ANC in neighboring South Africa says it will not intervene in the crisis in Zimbabwe. The BBC quotes ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe, who spoke at a news conference on Tuesday, as saying that the party would be concerned if “things go wrong there because it will impact on us”.
In the latest attempt at pushback at the show of force and challenging comments against President Mugabe by the military, the ruling Zanu-PF is accusing the Zimbabwe Army Chief General Chiwenga of “treasonable conduct”.
The 93 year old and now frail Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980. He and some of his ministers remain under US and EU sanctions which have crippled the country’s economy.
HARARE (Reuters) – A high court judge in Zimbabwe said on Thursday the state’s case against a U.S. citizen charged with trying to subvert President Robert Mugabe’s government lacked facts and ordered that she be granted bail.
Martha O‘Donovan has been in prison since Saturday, a day after she was arrested on accusations of insulting Mugabe in a Twitter post. Police later leveled the more serious charge of subversion, which carries a possible 20-year jail term.
She denies both charges. O‘Donovan works for Magamba TV, which describes itself as Zimbabwe’s leading producer of political satire.
In granting her bail, High Court Judge Clement Phiri said there was a “patent absence of facts” in the state’s case.
“The applicant has demonstrated that she should be granted bail. It is my finding that it is in the interests of justice that the applicant be given bail,” Phiri said.
O‘Donovan was not in court. Phiri ordered her to deposit $1,000 with the court, surrender her passport and report to the criminal investigations department twice a week as part of her bail conditions.
Her lawyer Obey Shava said O‘Donovan would be released on Friday after completing administrative procedures. Amnesty International said in a statement the case showed that Zimbabwean authorities had contempt for freedom of expression.