Harare, Nov 18 (IANS) Tens of thousands of people gathered in the centre of Harare on Saturday to call for the resignation of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, as moves to force him to stand down gather pace after a military takeover in the southern African nation.
Jubilant scenes were unfolding on the streets of Harare as protests turned to a celebration of the Army’s role in ending Mugabe’s grip on power. “It’s like Christmas,” said one marcher, Fred Mubay.
He said Zimbabweans had been suffering for a long time and were now, finally, happy.
The rally, supported by the military, was deemed as a “solidarity march”. Many carried national flags. One had a poster with a message for the 93-year-old President: “Leave Zimbabwe now!!!” while a vendor at an intersection held up a newspaper with the headline: “Mugabe cornered”, the Guardian reported.
The Army staged a takeover on Wednesday but Mugabe has refused its demands to leave office. The military and senior officials within the ruling Zanu-PF party now appear set on forcing Mugabe out within 48 hours.
A man arriving at the rally said: “As Zimbabweans, we are saying to our Army: “Thank you very much for the peaceful intervention.”
“And it’s time for the masses of Zimbabwe to say: Mugabe must go and must go, like, yesterday. We can’t wait to see his back. For us, it’s about a new beginning.”
“For us, it’s about the end of authoritarian rule and we are going to take our Zimbabwe back,” he said.
By late Friday afternoon, all 10 of the country’s provincial Zanu-PF branches had passed motions of no-confidence in the President. This could lead to Mugabe being stripped of his office of President of the party by Sunday, one official told the Guardian.
Earlier on Friday, Mugabe, who had been confined to his luxurious residence in the upscale Harare neighbourhood of Borrowdale since the military takeover, attended a university graduation ceremony on the outskirts of the capital city.
His wife Grace Mugabe was not present. It had been thought she had left the country but it emerged later that she was in her husband’s Harare residence.
Saturday’s march was organised by the powerful associations representing veterans of the former British colony’s liberation wars.
The military’s intervention came after weeks of political turmoil in which Mugabe sacked his powerful Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, clearing the way for Mugabe’s wife Grace to succeed him.
Mugabe has led Zimbabwe since it gained independence from Britain in 1980.
Post Source: Ians feed