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After ouster from his own party, Zimbabwe president refuses to resign

In an unexpected move, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe did not resign Sunday, five days after the army ordered his house arrest and hours after being sacked as party leader. The 93-year-old Mugabe gave a televised speech where he acknowledged “criticism” but did not step down from his post of nearly 40 years. Journalist Tatira Zwinoira joins Hari Sreenivasan from just outside Harare for more.

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  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Longtime president of Zimbabwe, 93-year-old Robert Mugabe faces impeachment proceedings tomorrow. In a televised speech today Mugabe acknowledged the criticism of his 37 years in power but he stopped short of stepping down. Many expected he would. Journalists as Tatira Zwinoira is just outside Zimbabwe's capital of Harare and is joining me now via Skype with more. I'm sure the televised newscast expecting a significant transition of power but he didn't step down?

  • TATIRA ZWINOIRA:

    Yes. He shocked everybody in the nation. It was largely expected since he was ousted as the Zanu-PF president just this afternoon and given a 24 hour ultimatum that he resigns as president. They thought that for all intents and purposes he might want to take the less disgraceful way out of power and use this state address to resign which he didn't. In fact, he went a step further in his speech to say that he's going to be presiding over the Zanu-PF Congress which is going to be done next month. This left many baffled because he was just expelled as the president! So how? In what capacity is it going to be presiding over this?

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Given the marches that we saw on the streets yesterday, What kind of support does Robert Mugabe have left?

  • TATIRA ZWINOIRA:

    Well I was talking to some sources of mine after this whole speech. It's very clear that there are some people who are helping him. This is unconfirmed, but from what I'm getting from my sources is that he actually read the wrong speech! There was a part where he was supposed to resign today and the reason why he didn't do that is because he wanted to put the generals on the spot. They have been saying this is not a coup and if they force a coup then these army generals lose legitimacy for their actions. Right now they are using the Constitution and yesterday's march which was attended by 100000 people in town. They're using all of that to justify their action.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    So is Mugabe then trying to force this into a military coup.

  • TATIRA ZWINOIRA:

    Most definitely for all intents and purposes he is trying to force it. And now the next question now becomes how best will the military use their plan B? Because impeachment was always plan B. In fact, you could actually argue that was always the original plan but they just thought that they had humiliated him so much with putting him out of the party that he was just going to take the graceful way out. But he's still remaining adamant and this is just how he has always been. He doesn't bow to anyone.

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