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Mugabe says he'll chair congress despite party recall

(China Daily USA) Updated: 2017-11-20 11:23

HARARE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe told his country on live television on Sunday evening that he will chair the ruling party's congress in December to resolve problems afflicting the ZANU-PF.

Mugabe's address on national television came after the ZANU-PF's decision earlier Sunday to recall him from the position of party leader and give him until noon Monday to resign as president or face impeachment proceedings.

In his address from the State House, Mugabe, flanked by army generals, acknowledged the presence of ills afflicting his party and said he would chair the ZANU-PF's congress next month to resolve the problems.

He said he was in agreement with the concerns raised by the army generals in a meeting at the State House that the infighting in the party was hurting the economy.

"Among the issues discussed (with the army generals) is that relating to our economy, which as we all know is going through a difficult patch. Of greater concern to our commanders are the well-founded fears that the lack of unity and commonness of purpose in both party and government was translating into perceptions of inattentiveness to the economy.

"Public spates between high-ranking officials in the party and government, exacerbated by multiple conflicting messages from both the party and government, made the criticisms leveled against us inescapable," Mugabe said.

He said some of the conflicts in the party were being caused by intergenerational conflict, which he said must be resolved and harmonized through merging of old established players as they embrace and welcome new rules.

"Indeed, all these matters will be discussed and settled at the forthcoming congress within the framework to resolve once and for all any omissions or contradictions that have affected our party negatively," Mugabe said.

"The congress is due in a few weeks from now, and I will preside over its processes, which must not be prepossessed by any acts calculated to undermine or to compromise the outcomes in the eyes of the public," he said.

Mugabe said the military operation last Wednesday was triggered by concerns arising from their reading of the state of affairs in the country and the party.

"Whatever the pros and cons of the way they went about registering those concerns, I as the president of Zimbabwe and their commander -in-chief do acknowledge the issues they have drawn my attention to, and I do believe that these were raised in the spirit of honesty and out of deep and patriotic concern of the stability of our nation and for the welfare of our people."

Chris Mutsvangwa, the leader of the liberation war veterans who have been spearheading an 18-month campaign to oust Mugabe, said plans to impeach him in parliament, which next sits on Tuesday, would now go ahead, and that there would be mass protests on Wednesday.

Mugabe said in his meeting with the commanders that they underscored the need for the party to collectively start the process to return the nation to normalcy.

Mugabe said the military operation did not amount to a threat to the country's constitutional order nor was it a challenge to his authority as head of state and government and commander-in-chief of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces.

"The command element remained respectful, and computed within the dictates and mores of constitutionalism. True, a few incidents may have occurred here and there, but these are being corrected," Mugabe said.

He said he was happy that throughout the short military intervention that the pillars of state remained functioning.

Xinhua - Reuters

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