Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe defies his own party and hundreds of thousands of protesters demanding his resignation by pledging in a television address to preside over the party's December congress. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Sunday defied his own ZANU-PF party and hundreds of thousands of protesters demanding his resignation by pledging in a television address to preside over the party's next congress in December. Two sources - one a senior member of the government, the other familiar with talks with leaders of the military - had told Reuters Mugabe would use the address to announce his resignation after ZANU-PF earlier sacked him as its leader in a step precipitated by an army takeover four days earlier. But in the speech from his official residence, sitting alongside a row of generals, Mugabe acknowledged criticisms from ZANU-PF, the military and the public, but made no mention of his own position, instead pledging to preside over the ZANU-PF congress scheduled for next month. "The Congress is due in a few weeks from now," Mugabe said, "I will preside over it's processes, which must not be pre-posessed by any acts calculated to undermine it or to compromise the outcomes in the eyes of the public." ZANU-PF had given the 93-year-old, who led his country to independence in 1980, less than 24 hours to quit as head of state or face impeachment, an attempt to secure a peaceful end to his tenure after a de facto military coup. In his address Mugabe acknowledged the concerns raised by the military and said they had been raised out of "patriotic concern".