Robert Mugabe faces the threat of impeachment by his own party on Monday, after his shock insistence he still holds power in Zimbabwe despite a military takeover and a noon deadline to end his 37-year autocratic rule.
In a televised address late Sunday, the 93-year-old veteran leader defied expectations that he would bring the curtain down on his reign, pitching the country into a second week of political crisis.
The speech provoked anger and disbelief among crowds who had gathered in bars and cafes to watch, and raised concerns that Zimbabwe could be at risk of a violent backlash.
His once-loyal ZANU-PF party — who has already sacked him and told him to resign as head of state — warned it would seek to impeach him if he fails to quit by midday (1000 GMT).
Both the army and the influential war veterans’ association were expected to hold briefings in response to the crisis triggered by Mugabe’s refusal to go.
Ahead of the ZANU-PF deadline, a noisy group of demonstrators gathered at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare to call for Mugabe to go.
Mugabe’s speech capped an extraordinary weekend that saw Zimbabweans jubilant at the prospect of his demise and venting their anger in ways that, just a week earlier, would have been brutally punished.
But their joy quickly turned to despair as Mugabe seemed to brush aside the turmoil — blithely declaring he would chair a top-level meeting of the party that had just disavowed him.