Robert Mugabe, already known as the Energizer Bunny of southern African strongman leaders, stunned Zimbabwe Sunday by failing to deliver a widely expected resignation. Instead, the 93-year-old, speaking after his own ZANU-PF party fired him as leader, promised to preside over a party congress set for next month, Reuters reports. Mugabe, flanked by generals during a 20-minute televised speech, said the events of the previous days, including an army takeover, didn't pose "a challenge to my authority as head of state and government." The party earlier said it would launch impeachment proceedings if he didn't resign by noon Monday, a deadline that has now passed.
According to Fergal Keane, the BBC's Africa editor, Mugabe apparently decided to resign but then changed his mind. Keane says the military appears to have decided to let the impeachment process take its course instead of forcing Mugabe out. Emmerson Mnangagwa, the vice president whose firing led to the army takeover, was elected as the party's new leader during its Central Committee meeting Sunday. The 75-year-old, nicknamed "The Crocodile" for his shrewd and ruthless ways, is believed to have now returned to Zimbabwe from abroad, the AP reports. At the same meeting, ZANU-PF expelled Grace Mugabe, the president's deeply unpopular wife.