Nov. 21 (UPI) — Zimbabwe’s ruling party will begin impeachment proceedings against President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday for “allowing his wife to usurp constitutional power,” officials said.
The Zanu-PF party will present the motion in Zimbabwe Parliament on Tuesday, with a senior party member, Paul Mangawana, saying it could take just two days to complete.
“We are expecting the motion to be moved tomorrow… and hopefully by Wednesday — because the charges are so clear,” Mangawana said.
Dr. Tarisai Mutangi, a constitutional lawyer, told Sky News that impeachment proceedings could take months.
“He knows the law is on his side, that the constitution is on his side and that the king pins of this process want to do it constitutionally, and that means it’s going to take quite some time,” Mutangi said.
Under Zimbabwe’s constitution, a president could be impeached for serious misconduct, willful violation of the constitution or failure to perform the functions of the office due to mental or physical inability.
The charges against Mugabe were numerous, but the main charge involved the president’s wife, Grace Mugabe.
“The main charge is that he has allowed his wife to usurp constitutional power when she has no right to run government,” Mangawana said. “She is insulting civil servants, the vice president, at public rallies. They are denigrating the army — those are the charges.”
The Zanu-PF leader also said Mugabe’s advanced age of 93 has diminished his “physical capacity” to run the country.
Mugabe was given a Monday deadline to resign his presidency after the ruling party sacked him last week. The president, though, did not offer any concessions in a televised speech Sunday — instead calling for Zimbabweans to avoid “bitterness or revengefulness.”
He also noted he would attend the Zanu-PF party’s special congress next month — giving no indication he planned to step down.
“Your time is up,” Chris Mutsvangwa, leader of the war veterans, said of Mugabe. “You should have the dignity and decency to spare the country of further turmoil.”
Since taking control last week, the military has arrested a dozen senior officials and ministers, and Grace Mugabe’s whereabouts are unknown. Thousands of protesters demanded Saturday that Mugabe leave the presidency, which he has held since 1980.
The takeover was preceded by Mugabe dismissing Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa — who’s now the appointed interim Zanu-PF leader and presumed successor to Mugabe as president.