Citizens in Zimbabwe are dancing in the streets after the country’s ruling party fired President Robert Mugabe, 93, on Sunday. The move comes after the African country’s leader was placed under house arrest days ago, marking the end of his 37-year reign.
Recently fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was appointed as the new leader of the ZANU-PF party and is expected to lead a new government, according to a report from Fox News published on Sunday. Party members demanded that Mugabe resign by 12 p.m. Monday or he will “definitely” face impeachment.
“If Mugabe is not gone by Tuesday, then as sure as the sun rises from the east, impeachment process will kick in,” said Innocent Gonese of the MDC-T party.
First lady Grace Mugabe was also recalled as head of the women’s league.
Resisting calls to step aside, Mugabe remained under house arrest with his wife as throngs of demonstrators turned Zimbabwe’s capital into a carnival ground on Saturday in a peaceful show of disdain for their longtime leader.
Called for Mugabe to quit immediately, people in Harare reportedly climbed onto tanks and other military vehicles moving slowly through the crowds, danced around soldiers walking in city streets and surged in the thousands toward the building where Mugabe held official functions.
“The old man should be allowed to rest,” former Zimbabwe finance minister and activist Tendai Biti told South African broadcaster eNCA.
Prior to the weekend, all 10 of the provincial branches of the Zanu-PF party demanded Mugabe’s resignation.
Party members were gathering with “a heavy heart”, said meeting chair Obert Mpofu, who recalled that Mugabe had served the country and contributed “many memorable achievements.” He further noted that the leader’s wife “and close associates have taken advantage of his frail condition” to loot national resources.
Mugabe’s sudden fall from power happened on the heels of his decision to fire his deputy, which sparked military intervention.
The first lady was seen as her husband’s likely replacement, but the 52-year-old woman is unpopular among many Zimbabweans due to her lavish spending on mansions, cars and jewels.