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Southern African leaders to discuss Zimbabwe on Tuesday

Zanu-PF had given the 93-year-old less than 24 hours to quit as head of state or face impeachment, an attempt to secure a peaceful end to his tenure.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (right) arrives for a graduation ceremony at the Zimbabwe Open University in Harare on 17 November 2017. This is his first public appearance since a military takeover on 14 November 2017. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) will discuss Zimbabwe’s political crisis on Tuesday at a summit in the Angolan capital Luanda, South Africa said on Sunday.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was fired as leader of the ruling Zanu-PF party on Sunday and replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the deputy he sacked this month, sources at a special Zanu-PF meeting to decide his fate told Reuters.

Zanu-PF had given the 93-year-old less than 24 hours to quit as head of state or face impeachment, an attempt to secure a peaceful end to his tenure after a de facto coup.

The source said the Zimbabwe military was working on a resignation statement by Mugabe, without giving details.

Two sources, one a senior member of the government, the other familiar with talks with leaders of the military, had told Reuters Mugabe would use the address to announce his resignation after Zanu-PF earlier sacked him as its leader in a step precipitated by an army takeover four days earlier.

But in the speech from his official residence, sitting alongside a row of generals, Mugabe acknowledged criticisms from Zanu-PF, the military and the public, but made no mention of his own position, instead pledging to preside over the Zanu-PF congress scheduled for next month.

Zanu-PF had given the 93-year-old, who led his country to indepndence in 1980, less than 24 hours to quit as head of state or face impeachment, an attempt to secure a peaceful end to his tenure after a de facto military coup.

The leader of Zimbabwe’s liberation war veterans said plans to impeach Mugabe would now go ahead.

Chris Mutsvangwa, who has been leading a campaign to oust Mugabe, told Reuters in a text message moment after Mugabe finished his speech that people would take to the streets of Harare on Wednesday.

Zanu-PF’s central committee had earlier named Emmerson Mnangagwa as its new leader. It was Mugabe’s sacking of Mnangagwa as his vice-president, to pave the way for his wife Grace to succeed him, that triggered the army’s intervention.

On Saturday, hundreds of thousands took to the streets of the capital Harare to celebrate Mugabe’s downfall and hail a new era for their country.