Harare: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe clung to the vestiges of office today, using a TV address to maintain he was still in power despite a military takeover and a mounting clamour for his autocratic 37-year rule to end.
“The (ruling ZANU-PF) party congress is due in a few weeks and I will preside over its processes,” Mugabe said, pitching the country into deep uncertainty.
Many Zimbabweans had expected Mugabe, 93, to announce his resignation after the army seized power, opened the floodgates of citizen protest and his once-loyal party told him to quit.
But Mugabe, sitting alongside the uniformed generals who were behind the military intervention, delivered a speech that conveyed he was unruffled by the turmoil.
Speaking slowly and occasionally stumbling as he read from the pages, Mugabe talked of the need for solidarity to resolve national problems — business-as-usual rhetoric that he has deployed over decades.
He made no reference to the chorus for him to resign and shrugged off last week’s dramatic military intervention.
“The operation I have alluded to did not amount to a threat to our well-cherished constitutional order nor did it challenge my authority as head of state, not even as commander in chief,” he said. (AFP)