Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was expected Sunday to discuss the end of his 37-year-long rule in a meeting with army commander Constantino Chiwenga, who led a sudden military takeover of the African country’s government last week.
Senior figures in Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party, meanwhile, were gathering early Sunday ahead of an emergency meeting of the party's Central Committee to discuss calls to expel the 93-year-old Mugabe.
"If Mugabe is not gone by Tuesday, then as sure as the sun rises from the east, impeachment process will kick in," said Innocent Gonese, a member of the opposition MDC-T party.
Mugabe, who remains under house arrest with his wife Grace, has resisted calls to step aside.
On Friday, all 10 of the provincial branches of the Zanu-PF party demanded Mugabe’s resignation. And on Saturday, massive anti-Mugabe crowds gathered in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, to call for his removal.
“The old man should be allowed to rest,” former Zimbabwe finance minister and activist Tendai Biti told South African broadcaster eNCA.
The meeting also is expected to reinstate the vice president whose firing nearly two weeks ago led the military to step in.
Mugabe’s decision to fire his deputy set in motion his abrupt fall from power.The move appeared to position the first lady, Grace Mugabe, to replace Emmerson Mnangagwa as one of the country’s two vice presidents at a party conference next month.
But the 52-year-old first lady is unpopular among many Zimbabweans for her lavish spending on mansions, cars and jewels. Last month she went to court to sue a diamond dealer for not supplying her with a 100-carat diamond that she said she had paid for.
Mugabe's talk with Chiwenga will be the second round of negotiations on an exit with a veneer of dignity as the military tries to avoid accusations of a coup.
This time, the talks do not appear to include a South African government delegation.