Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe Agreed To Resign Following A Military Coup, And Then Changed His Mind

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(NOTE: Please see our update at the bottom of this post.)

Late last week, Zimbabwean military officials determined that an intolerable situation in their country must end. As such, the military staged a bloodless coup while placing President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled for four decades under often questionable circumstances, under house arrest. The leader refused to resign as protests against his leadership persisted throughout the weekend, but the Wall Street Journal and The Guardian both now report that he will step down and soon broadcast a speech to that effect.

The reports indicate that Mugabe’s speech has been prerecorded and, per an agreement, must be aired by noon on Monday. However, the matter is expected to soon conclude without much delay:

The officials said Mr. Mugabe, the world’s oldest head of state, had reached a deal Sunday afternoon with generals who took control of his government Tuesday night.

State broadcaster ZBC said the 93-year-old Mr. Mugabe would address the nation later Sunday without giving more details. Several broadcast vans had lined up in front of Mr. Mugabe’s official residence, where he had been holding talks with generals and mediators all afternoon.

Although the issues surrounding the 93-year-old Mugabe’s controversial rule run far and wide, the catalyst for the coup appears to have been a power grab on his behalf. That is, he apparently fired VP Emmerson Mnangagwa while appointing his wife, Grace, as his successor. She’s never been popular with Zimbabweans, and although Mugabe expressed intent to run for office again, he also attempted to guarantee that Grace could run in his place, should his health deter him. Now, it’s unclear clear where Zimbabwe will go from here, but it shall certainly do so without Robert Mugabe at the forefront.

UPDATE – 4:45pm EST: Mugabe has apparently changed his mind and decided not to resign. The Associated Press reports that, in response, the chief whip of the country’s ruling party has promised, “I don’t see us failing to proceed with the impeachment.”

(Via The Guardian & Wall Street Journal)