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Zimbabwe’s ruling party sacks Robert Mugabe as leader

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Media captionPeople sing and celebrate as Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe is sacked

Zimbabwe’s ruling party has sacked President Robert Mugabe as its leader, officials say.

Zanu-PF has appointed ex-vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had been fired by Mr Mugabe two weeks ago.

The sacking of Mr Mnangagwa had prompted an extraordinary chain of events as the military intervened to block Mr Mugabe, 93, from installing his wife, Grace, in his place.

The first lady has been expelled from the party altogether.

Mr Mugabe is set to meet military leaders on Sunday and a motorcade has been seen leaving his private residence.

Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans had attended street protests on Saturday, demonstrating against the Mugabes.

BBC correspondent Andrew Harding, at the Zanu-PF meeting, said cheering erupted as the decision was announced.

One senior official later told him: “It’s the dawn of a new era. Mugabe can go farming.”

The move has yet to be formalised, but it increases further the pressure on Mr Mugabe that has been building over the past few days, and there are now moves to impeach him as president if he does not resign.

The recent events:

  • Two weeks ago Mr Mugabe sacked his then-deputy Mr Mnangagwa, who then fled the country
  • The army’s chief of staff, Gen Constantino Chiwenga, warned on Monday that the military might intervene to stop purges in the party – and was roundly criticised by allies of the Mugabes
  • On Wednesday, soldiers seized the headquarters of the national broadcaster
  • Mr Mugabe has been mostly under house arrest for several days
  • On Saturday, unprecedented mass protests further weakened Mr Mugabe’s position

The head of the influential War Veterans Association, Chris Mutsvangwa, threatened to “bring back the crowds and they will do their business” if Mr Mugabe did not step down.

Mr Mugabe has been president of Zimbabwe for 37 years.

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Media captionZimbabweans rallied to celebrate the army’s takeover of the country

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