Robert Mugabe clung on as Zimbabwe’s president Sunday, using national TV to insist he still holds power despite a military takeover and mounting pressure for his autocratic 37-year rule to end, AFP reports.
Crowds who gathered in bars and cafes in Harare to watch the address, which was widely expected would end in the 93-year-old’s resignation, were left stunned and disconsolate. Some wept openly.
“The (ruling ZANU-PF) party congress is due in a few weeks and I will preside over its processes,” Mugabe said. His words pitched the country into deep uncertainty, as they imply he will seek to stay in office until at least mid-December.
It was widely thought that Mugabe would have no choice but to go 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 suggested he was unfazed 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.