HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party will meet on Sunday to dismiss President Robert Mugabe and reinstate the vice-president he dismissed, Emmerson Mnangagwa, two party sources told Reuters on Saturday.
The sources said a party central committee meeting scheduled for 10:30 a.m. (3.30 a.m. ET) would also dismiss 93-year-old Mugabe’s preferred successor, his wife Grace, from her role as head of the ZANU-PF Women’s League.
Mugabe’s 37-year rule has been effectively at an end since the army seized control on Wednesday, confining him to his residence, saying it wanted to target the “criminals” around him.
Shortly after the sources revealed the meeting, a motorcade left Mugabe’s official residence in the capital Harare to the jeers of onlookers, although it was unclear if he was inside.
Hundreds of thousands of people had flooded the streets of Harare singing, dancing and hugging soldiers in an outpouring of elation at Mugabe’s demise, while others marched towards his residence.
In scenes reminiscent of the downfall of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989, men, women and children ran alongside the armored cars and the troops who stepped in this week to oust the only ruler Zimbabwe has known since independence in 1980.
Under house arrest in his lavish ‘Blue Roof’ compound, he has watched support from his ZANU-PF party, security services and people evaporate in less than three days.
Additional reporting by Ed Cropley in Johannesburg and Emelia Sithole-Matarise in London; Writing by Ed Cropley and Alexander Winning; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Kevin Liffey