The Latest: Botswana’s president urges Mugabe to step aside


The Latest: Botswana's president urges Mugabe to step aside

The Associated Press
Zimbabwean Army General Constantino Chiwenga, centre, addresses the media at the KG6 Army barracks in Harare, Monday, Nov, 20, 2017. Lawmakers within the ruling Zanu pf party gathered Monday to meet on the fate of long time President Robert Mugabe, who has refused efforts to make him step down. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

The Latest on Zimbabwe's political turmoil (all times local):

2 p.m.

Botswana's government has posted online what it calls an open letter from President Ian Khama urging Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe to step down.

Khama has openly criticized his neighbor in the past. His letter posted on social media comes as Zimbabwe's ruling party is poised to begin impeachment proceedings against Mugabe.

The letter asks the world's oldest head of state to "be sensitive to the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe and to do the honourable thing by voluntarily relinquishing power."

Khama adds that Zimbabwe's people have been "subjected to untold suffering" under Mugabe, who has ruled for 37 years while the once-prosperous southern African nation's economy collapsed.


12:50 p.m.

A Zimbabwean ruling party senior official says Cabinet ministers have snubbed a call by President Robert Mugabe to attend a meeting.

Lovemore Matuke says "all" ministers heeded a party directive to skip the Cabinet meeting and instead attend a party caucus to discuss impeaching Mugabe.

The party's Central Committee has voted to strip Mugabe of his party leadership post amid nationwide calls for the 93-year-old leader to resign. Mugabe, however, says he plans to preside over a ruling party congress next month.

The ruling party is poised to begin impeachment proceedings against Mugabe on Tuesday.


10:25 a.m.

Four regional countries are meeting on Zimbabwe's political crisis.

South Africa's president is joining the Angola-hosted summit of the Southern African Development Community, along with the leaders of Zambia and Tanzania.

A committee of the regional bloc has recommended a full summit of all 16 members to discuss Zimbabwe, where longtime President Robert Mugabe faces impeachment after his firing of his deputy and positioning of the unpopular first lady to succeed him.


9:45 a.m.

The Zimbabwe vice president whose firing kicked off the country's political crisis says President Robert should heed the "clarion call" and resign immediately: "The people of Zimbabwe have clearly spoken."

The new statement from Emmerson Mnangagwa makes clear that he remains outside Zimbabwe after fleeing and won't return until his security is guaranteed.

Mnangagwa confirms that Mugabe has invited him to return "for a discussion" on the recent events. But "given the events that followed my dismissal I cannot trust my life in President Mugabe's hands."

He says his security was withdrawn upon his firing and he was informed that "plans were underfoot to eliminate me once arrested."

Mnangagwa says he is aware of the impeachment proceedings that start Tuesday against Mugabe and "I will not stand in the way of the people and my party."


9:20 a.m.

A recently fired Zimbabwean vice president and likely successor to President Robert Mugabe says the 93-year-old leader should resign immediately.

Emmerson Mnangagwa says in a statement Tuesday that he is not in Zimbabwe and that he would not return to the country until he is "satisfied of my personal security."

Mugabe fired Mnangagwa earlier this month, but Zimbabwe's ruling party is demanding that Mugabe resign and wants the former vice president to replace him.

The ruling party is poised to begin impeachment proceedings against Mugabe on Tuesday as Parliament resumes, and it has instructed government ministers to boycott a Cabinet meeting Mugabe has called for Tuesday morning.


9 a.m.

Zimbabwe's ruling party is set to begin impeachment proceedings against longtime President Robert Mugabe, while a party official says government ministers have been instructed to boycott a Cabinet meeting called by the president.

Ruling party chief whip Lovemore Matuke tells The Associated Press minutes before the Cabinet meeting is expected to start that ministers have been told to instead attend a meeting at party headquarters to work on the impeachment. Parliament resumes Tuesday.

Mugabe's chief secretary on Monday summoned ministers to the Cabinet meeting at State House, the president's official residence.

Mugabe is finding himself increasingly isolated.

The military on Monday night said the vice president he recently fired, sparking the political turmoil, will return to Zimbabwe "shortly" and has made contact with Mugabe.

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