2:37pm: The Southern African Development Community (SADC) will discuss Zimbabwe’s political crisis on Tuesday at a summit in the Angolan capital Luanda, South Africa said on Sunday.
Mugabe was fired as leader of the ruling ZANU-PF party on Sunday and replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the deputy he sacked this month.
Former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been appointed the new Zanu PF leader after the ruling party’s Central Committee voted to dismiss 93-year-old Robert Mugabe from his position.
First Lady Grace Mugabe has been expelled from the party altogether. Despite being sacked by the party, Mugabe remains President of Zimbabwe.
The sacking of Mr Mnangagwa had prompted an extraordinary chain of events as the military intervened to block Mr Mugabe, 93, from installing his wife, Grace, in his place. Mr Mugabe is set to meet military leaders on Sunday and a motorcade has been seen leaving his private residence.
Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans had attended street protests on Saturday, demonstrating against the Mugabes. Mr Mugabe is still the president of Zimbabwe, although the Zanu PF move increases the pressure on him that has been building for days.
The head of the influential War Veterans Association, Chris Mutsvangwa, told Reuters news agency that the party was also starting the process of removing Mr Mugabe as the president of the country.
The vote by hundreds of senior Zanu-PF officials in Harare on Sunday significantly weakens the position of Mugabe who has refused to step down following a military takeover last week despite huge marches demanding that he leaves power.
Zimbabwe’s parliament will reconvene on Tuesday after a week-long suspension and is expecting to move to impeach the president if he has not given up power.
The committee also stripped Grace Mugabe, the divisive first lady, of her position as chair of the party’s women’s league.
When the motion was passed, removing Mugabe from the head of the party and reinstating Emmerson Mnangagwa to replace him, the hall broke into cheers, song and dance.
The 200 or so members of the central committee leapt to their feet, many singing Mnangagwa’s name.
“This is the day that is defining the new birth and development of our country,” said Mike Madiro, chairman of one of the provincial party branches that had formally set Mugabe’s dethroning in motion.
Chris Mutsvangwa, head of the powerful war veterans’ association, said Mugabe was running out of time to negotiate his departure and should leave the country while he could.
“We are going all the way,” Mutsvangwa said. “He’s trying to bargain for a dignified exit.”
Grace Mugabe, 52, has not been seen since the takeover. Sources told the Guardian she was in her husband’s Harare residence when he was detained on Tuesday and has not moved since.
BBC correspondent Andrew Harding, at the meeting, tweeted a video of people dancing after the decision to remove Mr Mugabe was taken. He said cheering erupted as the decision was announced, although the move has yet to be formalised. Staff Reporter/BBC News/Guardian
It is done pic.twitter.com/Z6wSX4quoG
— andrew harding (@AndrewWJHarding) November 19, 2017