Hours after the ruling ZANU-PF party told Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe that he must resign in 24 hours, he appeared on national television and delivered a speech in which an announcement of resignation was notably absent.
While many unconfirmed sources have stated that Mugabe agreed with leaders of the Army and ZANU-PF to resign at the end of the day, his address has left many more questions than answers.
During his address, the usually charismatic, though increasingly frail leader, delivered a prepared speech. During his address, his face looked down at the printed statement during virtually the entire duration of the speech. Notably, he appeared to get lost several times. At one point he stated, “may I read this again?”. As this happened an Army officer sitting next to him helped him to find his place.
During another point in the statement, an officer could be seen nudging Mugabe. As the speech concluded he stated to party officials and military officers sitting beside him, “sorry…I hope we can correct that….it was a long speech”. At that point, several seconds after the speech had concluded, those beside Mugabe offered a notably tentative round of applause.
This would all indicate that Mugabe’s speech was given under duress of one form or another.
The content of the speech was relatively vague, with Mugabe stating that the military officers who inititally approached him, did so expressing their concerns in good faith.
He further emphasised the importance of preserving the constitutional order and affirmed his respect for future decisions made by ZANU-PF at the next party congress.
Apart from these vague statements indicating an acknowledgement of a general change being afoot, there were no specific words used to address Mugabe’s present status in the country.
He ended saying that he has confident that whatever changes are to come will be exercised in a “comradely way”.
Now watch Robert Mugabe’s “non-resignation” speech in its entirety.