Wild celebrations were reported across Zimbabwe on Saturday moments after reports emerged that some lawmakers were plotting to remove the country’s defiant president.
Robert Mugabe has failed to stand down, days after the military seized control of the country’s affairs.
Zimbabwe Newsday reports Saturday that an opposition parliamentarian of the Movement for Democratic Change, James Maridadi, would raise the motion next week.
The paper cited its sources as stating that the articles of impeachment could be moved as early as next week Tuesday – and that the Speaker had been informed.
Local media reports said members of Mr. Mugabe’s ZANU-PF would likely endorse the impeachment proceeding in order to pave way for a new leader.
The report has further raised the hopes of Zimbabweans that the 93-year-old leader’s days in office are numbered. It came hours after citizens held protests across the country to demand Mr. Mugabe’s ouster and affirm their support for the military action.
Mr. Mugabe was pushed aside in the early hours of Wednesday by military leaders, in what many see as a potential end to the 37-year-old rule.
He had vowed to be in charge of the country until his death. But a recent decision to make his wife, Grace, the president of the southern African nation, is believed to have prompted the military takeover.
Military leaders in uniform took over state broadcaster, ZBC, on Tuesday, a day after the chief of army staff, Constantino Chiwenga, warned of possible military intervention due to an alleged inflammatory rhetoric of politicians.
But the military has maintained that its intervention was not a coup. Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was sacked last week by Mr. Mugabe, is now widely believed to have been favoured by the military as the next leader.
South African President Jacob Zuma sent his Defence Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, and State Security Minister, Bongani Bongo, to Zimbabwe to meet with Mr. Mugabe and the military Wednesday.
The team held talks with Mr. Mugabe Thursday afternoon, although sources said the leader had refused to step down until he completes his current tenure. His current tenure expires next year.
Morgan Tsvangirai of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, has continued to demand Mr. Mugabe’s resignation.
In 2008, the MDC won a majority in parliamentary polls, defeating Mr. Mugabe’s Zanu-PF. But Mr. Tsvangirai withdrew from the second round of the vote, sparking a crisis that eventually led to a power-sharing arrangement.
The arrangement collapsed in 2013, prompting Mr. Tsvangirai to proceed on exile, where he’d remained largely until returning to the country after yesterday’s ‘coup’.