Zimbabwe’s Mugabe given deadline to step down as president

World Today

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe sits for formal photographs with university officials, after presiding over a student graduation ceremony at Zimbabwe Open University on the outskirts of Harare, Zimbabwe Friday, Nov. 17, 2017. Mugabe made his first public appearance since the military put him under house arrest earlier this week. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

President Robert Mugabe was seen in public on Friday for the first time since the army placed him under house arrest. He’s facing a 24 hour deadline to step down from political party Zanu-PF. Protests supporting his removal are planned for Saturday.

CGTN’s Farai Mwakutuya reports from Harare.

After three days of confinement, Zimbabwe’s embattled president was seen for the first time in public, officiating a university graduation ceremony. Earlier, the country’s military said it had partially completed its mission to account for criminals surrounding President Mugabe.

Talks between the veteran leader and military chiefs are deadlocked after a Thursday afternoon meeting with South African mediators. The stalled diplomatic effort has heightened anxiety in a nation that’s looking for a quick resolution to a dramatic political crisis.

“Between now and tomorrow we are giving a stark warning to Mugabe, to his wife, and to anyone who still wants to be associated with him,” Chris Mutsvangwa, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans Association, said. “The game is up. Finished. Done.”

Mutsvangwa said Mugabe is being offered an ultimatum to leave office.

The veterans have organized a march on Saturday to compel the president to step down. On Friday, the ruling Zanu-PF party initiated a process to recall Mugabe. Provincial committees passed votes of ‘no confidence’ in the embattled leader and his wife, First Lady Grace Mugabe.