Robert Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe, has gone against public expectations and refused resignation in a televised address to the nation. Speaking just moments ago, Mugabe said a meeting during the weekend with military leaders made him realise there were severe issues that needed addressing in Zimbabwe.
The 93-year-old acknowledged that the army’s intervention was “triggered by concerns arising from their reading of the state of affairs in our country and in the ruling Zanu-PF party,” BBC reports.
Mugabe added that Zimbabwe’s economy was going through a “difficult patch” and that the country needed to “return to normalcy.” He went on to point out that “the pillars of state remained functional” despite the recent conflict.
Mugabe admitted that his political party, Zanu-PF, had strict rules, but said that “the government remains committed to improving this social and material conditions of the people”. He said the military’s concern came from the “spirit of honesty and out of deep and patriotic concern for the stability of our nation and welfare of our people.”
In a shocking twist, however, Mugabe ended his speech without resigning. The President finished by saying “we cannot be guided by bitterness” and stepped away from the microphone. This suggests Mugabe will continue as leader until the ruling congress in December, which determines official party positions. It is thought that Emmerson Mnangagwa will officially take over ruling Zimbabwe.
Thousands have taken to the streets to demand Mugabe step down after he was contained by military last week. Mugabe has been President for 37 years and is the oldest head of state in the world.