HARARE, November 19 – Zimbabwe has entered a new era, Zanu-PF central committee member Ellen Gwaradzimba said on Sunday.
Speaking to journalists in Harare after the central committee voted to fire President Robert Mugabe as party leader, she said Zimbabweans had lived under an “oppressive and dictatorial” regime for a long time.
“In a very long time we’ve never had an opportunity to express ourselves, as members of the party and Zimbabwean citizens in a free and democratic atmosphere. We had a system… that I would describe as kind of oppressive and dictatorial in that people were afraid to speak out because of fear of victimisation and prejudices,” she said.
The governing Zanu-PF Sunday sacked the embattled Mugabe and reinstated Emmerson Mnangagwa as party vice president. Zanu-PF also resolved to elect Mnangagwa – who was recently fired as vice president by Mugabe – as the party’s new leader.
Following an extraordinary session of the Zanu-PF central committee on Sunday at the party’s headquarters, acting chairman Obert Mpofu said “this is a new era, not only for the party, but for the country as well”. The whole of Zimbabwe was “ecstatic”, he said.
Zanu-PF also resolved to expel Mugabe’s wife Grace and ban her for life from the party’s politics. Also expelled were Jonathan Moyo, national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, Mugabe nephew Patrick Zhuwao, Zanu-PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo, as well as many others aligned to the G40 faction – supporting Grace to succeed her husband – which has been fighting against Mnangagwa’s possible ascension to power.