HARARE, Zimbabwe — The ruling ZANU-PF party has asked the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to support its motion to impeach President Robert Mugabe, ZANU-PF Deputy Secretary for Legal Affairs Paul Mangwana said on Monday.
He told the media just before the start of the party’s parliamentary caucus meeting that the ruling party needs 125 votes plus 73 votes from the MDC to obtain the two-thirds majority needed to impeach the president.
“We have discussed with the MDC, and they have promised to give us the 73 votes that we require,” Mangwana said.
He said the party hopes to complete the three-stage impeachment process by Wednesday.
The first stage is to move a motion and raise charges on Tuesday, which requires a simple majority, followed by the setting up of a nine-member committee to investigate the charges and report back to parliament, with voting on Wednesday, Mangwana said.
The impeachment effort by ZANU-PF came after Mugabe missed the party’s deadline for him to resign by noon Monday.
Lawmakers from the MDC will hold a meeting on Tuesday to decide whether to join their ruling party rivals to impeach the 93-year-old president, the minority chief whip said.
Although Mugabe’s ZANU-PF has the required two-thirds membership to remove Mugabe, participation by the opposition could boost a process that was started by the military’s intervention last week.
Mugabe has called his cabinet for a meeting on Tuesday at his State House offices, the chief secretary to the president and cabinet said in a notice, the same day ruling party members plan to impeach him.
This is the first time the ministers are set to meet for their routine weekly meeting with Mugabe since the military took power on Wednesday. Cabinet meetings are usually held at Munhumutapa Building in the center of town, but an armored vehicle and armed soldiers are camped outside the offices.
Events of the past week surrounding the fate of Mugabe have put tremendous pressure on the mobile networks of the southern African country, as people chose to stay on social media to be in the loop. State-owned NetOne said on Monday that its network experienced congestion.
“We would like to inform all our valued customers that we are currently experiencing high data usage and congestion on the network. We are doing all the best we can to address the issue,” a message posted to NetOne’s subscribers said.
Zimbabwe’s military took over government functions last week in an action they said was not a coup but has been widely interpreted as such, saying that it wanted to get rid of “criminals” around Mugabe and put the economy back on track.
Many took to social media to spread the news. Even those in the diaspora stayed on their mobile phones and were sharing pictures of what was happening as excitement gripped Zimbabweans who believed that a new political dispensation beckoned, especially on Saturday, when tens of thousands marched against Mugabe.
Messages were being posted via Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter with images of the march and commentaries.