The ruling party of Zimbabwe has voted to sack Robert Mugabe as its leader and has appointed in his place the vice-president the veteran autocrat fired two weeks ago.
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 expelled Grace Mugabe, the divisive first lady, who had been 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.