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Marchers in Zimbabwe call for Mugabe to step down

Zimbabwe’s capital city Harare is abuzz with people waving the country’s flag hooting singing, chanting and dancing.

Hundreds of Zimbabweans have taken to the streets in a peaceful march calling for the axing of president of president Robert Mugabe on 18 November 2018. Picture: EWN.

HARARE - Hundreds of Zimbabweans have taken to the streets today in a peaceful march calling for the axing of president of President Robert Mugabe.

The 93-year-old president has been at the helm of the country’s governance for 37 years without threats to his leadership.

But citizens say the Zimbabwean Defece Force’s move to take control of government this week has given them hope that this may be the end for Mugabe.

Zimbabwe’s capital city Harare is abuzz with people waving the country’s flag hooting singing, chanting and dancing.

They say they are celebrating what the army has done for them.

Streets a closed off with some residents holding red cards, calling for Mugabe to leave office.

Armed soldiers can be seen at most intersections directing traffic and responding with random smiles as the crowds cheer them on.

All 10 of his party’s provincial committees on Friday called on him to resign.

This is the kind of headline that was unthinkable for 37 years.

The state broadcaster and the Herald reported that Zanu-PF had called on Mugabe to resign.

Provincial committees of the ruling party across the country said the 93-year-old had lost control of the government.

These are the committees that only two weeks ago backed the firing of Emmerson Mnangagwa, the vice president who clearly has the sympathies of the military who have put Mugabe under house arrest.

This betrayal by his own party will be a major blow to Mugabe, who is reported to still be holding out against demands by the military for him to step down.

Zimbabweans say their inaction during what’s been dubbed a soft coup is an endorsement of military take over

The military took over on Monday, detaining several ministers and placing Mugabe under house arrest

Despite the political uncertainty, it’s been business as usual for Zimbabweans.

Mugabe made a public appearance at a graduation ceremony on Friday this despite the military saying he’s confined to his home.

Social justice activist Ostalos Sibiza says Zimbabweans understand the military has to appear to be handling the situation amicably in order to preserve international relations.

He says if they were dissatisfied, they would have taken to the streets in protest.

“Because remember we have the capacity to sit at home and tell everyone we are not in support with what the military is doing; we’re shutting down this country.

“But we’re walking around to show that the situation in the country is tranquil and the actions of the military are legitimate at this juncture.”

Civil organisations are today holding a peaceful march in solidarity with the army.

YOUNG PEOPLE CALL FOR CHANGE

Young people say they see the apparent impending regime change in Zimbabwe as an opportunity to turn the economy around.

Following the country’s economic meltdown and chronic cash shortage, Zimbabwe introduced bond notes worth a dollar each to ease the crisis.

The Zimbabwean National Students Union’s Treasure Basopo says young people have endorsed the military takeover.

“We’re driven by the passion to see the populace becoming better off. So as students we endorse the decision, we’re happy with it simply because they are talking of trying to remove him so that the economy can perform better.”

Coalition of Unemployed Graduates Nqobizitha Mlambo says talks of any future cannot happen without the involvement of the youth.

“So this is now the platform on how we want to charter our country going forward through a roadmap. How do we industrialise, so they can’t talk about that without the necessary ways of young people.”

It’s still unclear how far the talks between the president and the army have advanced but Zimbabweans seem to have one explicit demand: Mugabe must go.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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