Zimbabwe ruling party looks toward impeachment

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HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — 4:40 p.m.

MGN

A Zimbabwe ruling party official says it should take Parliament two days to impeach longtime President Robert Mugabe, who is resisting calls to step down.

The party's deputy secretary for legal affairs Paul Mangwana is speaking to reporters as ruling party lawmakers gather.

He says they will move a motion for impeachment on Tuesday and set up a committee and on Wednesday it will report back and "we vote him out."

Mangwana says the main charge against the 93-year-old Mugabe is "allowing his wife to usurp government powers" and that "he is too old and cannot even walk without help."

He says the ruling party needs the backing of the MDC opposition group to have enough votes in Parliament but "they are supporting us."

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4:25 p.m.

Lawmakers with Zimbabwe's ruling party are gathering to meet on the fate of longtime President Robert Mugabe, who has resisted efforts to step down.

A portrait of the world's oldest head of state looks down on the ZANU-PF lawmakers as they prepare to discuss their threat of impeaching Mugabe when Parliament resumes Tuesday.

The party's chief whip Lovemore Matuke is refusing to answer reporters' questions until after the meeting.

Mugabe astonished Zimbabweans with his defiance in a national address Sunday night after being fired as party leader. He ignored the party's deadline of midday Monday to resign as president or face impeachment.

It is not clear how long impeachment would take.

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3:40 p.m.

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he doubts the ability of the ruling party to solve the country's challenges amid efforts to oust President Robert Mugabe.

Tsvangirai says on his party's website Monday that the ruling ZANU-PF party has been hurt by factional battles and that it appears to have differences with the military over how to handle the confusing situation. Mugabe has defied calls to resign immediately. The ruling party is discussing impeachment.

The opposition leader says the upheaval could undermine the opportunity for a "fresh start" after moves by the military and others against Mugabe. "It would be inimical to progress and the future of the country if all this action was about power retention at all costs," Tsvangirai says.

He adds that elections scheduled for next year should be internationally supervised as a way to ensure political legitimacy.

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2:50 p.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman says Robert Mugabe has lost the support of Zimbabwe's people.

James Slack says that "we don't yet know how developments in Zimbabwe are going to play out. What does appear clear is that Mugabe has lost the support of the people and of his party."

Slack told reporters that Britain "would appeal for everyone to refrain from violence and hope to see a peaceful and swift resolution to the situation."

Mugabe ignored a midday deadline by the ruling party to resign and now faces impeachment.

— Jill Lawless in London.

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1:30 p.m.

Zimbabwe's state-run broadcaster says ruling party members are summoned to a meeting Monday afternoon as talk of impeaching longtime President Robert Mugabe continues.

Mugabe ignored a midday deadline by the party's Central Committee to resign. He now faces impeachment when Parliament resumes Tuesday.

Meanwhile, government ministers are being urged to go about their work as usual as the political confusion continues.

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12:10 p.m.

The deadline set by Zimbabwe's ruling party for longtime President Robert Mugabe to resign or face impeachment has passed.

The 93-year-old Mugabe remained defiant in a national address Sunday night. He has been fired as ruling party leader but says he will preside at a party congress next month.

Activists and the influential war veterans association are vowing more protests to pressure the world's oldest head of state, who is under military house arrest, to resign.

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10:30 a.m.

Zimbabwe's influential war veterans association says the military should step back and let the people, and politics, remove longtime President Robert Mugabe from power.

Chris Mutsvangwa says more protests are planned as Mugabe faces a midday deadline set by the ruling party to resign or face impeachment proceedings.

Zimbabweans were astonished that Mugabe, flanked by the military, in a national address Sunday night did not announce his resignation.

"Your time is up," Mutsvangwa says, and he suggests that the military, even though it put Mugabe under house arrest days ago, is still beholden to him and compelled to protect him because he is officially their "commander in chief."

He also says the war veterans' association is going to court to argue that Mugabe is "derelict of his executive duty."

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8:45 a.m.

Zimbabweans are worried about their country's fate after the increasingly isolated President Robert Mugabe did not resign in a televised speech as many had expected.

"Arrogant Mugabe disregards Zanu PF," a newspaper headline says, a reference to the ruling party that has demanded he resign by noon Monday or face impeachment.

Opposition activists plan more protests to pressure Mugabe.

Some ruling party members say an impeachment process likely wouldn't lead to Mugabe's immediate resignation and could take days to complete. Mugabe has been stripped of his party leadership but said in Sunday night's speech he would preside over a party congress next month.

Some people in the capital, Harare, are now more cautious about talking to reporters. That contrasts with the jubilation and open condemnation of Mugabe over the weekend.