News, Politics

Zimbabwe Leadership Uncertain

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A photo of Robert Mugabe.
Robert Mugabe; photo:

Note: Since this article was posted on Sunday night, Robert Mugabe has resigned. Please see Update at the bottom of this article.

Robert Mugabe has been the president of Zimbabwe since 1987.

Anyone younger than 37 years old in the African country has never had another leader.

Now, many people in Zimbabwe, as well as the military, want him to step down–to leave the job so they can choose a new president.

There have been demonstrations in the country, as tens of thousands gathered in Zimbabwe’s cities to make it clear that they wanted Mugabe to leave his job. The military placed Mugabe under house arrest.

However, he may try to hold onto power.

On Sunday, Mugabe gave “a rambling 30-minute (speech)” on live television according to the Guardian news organization, in which he suggested that “he has no immediate intention of stepping down.”

Mugabe has been in power for 37 years. He was the country’s prime minister from 1980 to 1987 and he has led the country’s ruling Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), currently called the ZANU–Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF), since 1980. Mugabe is 93 years old.

ZANU-PF fired Mugabe as its leader and appointed former Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa as its interim leader, according to the Guardian. (In this case, “interim” means he will hold the job until a new, more permanent leader is chosen–who may end up being Mnangagwa.)

Parliament is expected to resume on Tuesday. Some people say that Mugabe faces impeachment (in this case, impeachment means formally charging a leader with a crime; if they are found guilty, it may begin the process of the leader being removed from office).

This situation is changing and will continue to evolve over the coming weeks as new events happen.

UPDATE: On Tuesday, Nov. 21, Robert Mugabe resigned. While impeachment proceedings were beginning on Tuesday morning, it was announced that Robert Mugabe had written a letter announcing his resignation (in other words, saying he would quit his job and let someone else become leader). Reporter Margaret Evans, with CBC News, posted a video (click here) showing celebrations in the streets of Zimbabwe following this resignation announcement.

UPDATE 2: Former Zimbabwe Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been selected to be the next president of Zimbabwe.

Related Links
New York Times article about Mugabe:

Guardian article about Mugabe:

An excellent overview of events in Zimbabwe, on the Fox News website (with contributions from the Associated Press):

By Kathleen Tilly and Joyce Grant

Writing/Discussion Prompt
The New York Times reported that Mugabe gave a “20-minute televised speech” and the Guardian said the speech was 30 minutes.

Both of these sources of news are considered credible and use professional journalists and editors. So, how would you explain how this could happen?

Do you think it matters? Why or why not?

Reading Prompt: Demonstrate Understanding
There is a lot of information in this article. Read through the article and highlight or underline the most important points. Now try to summarize this article in 3 sentences.

Demonstrate understanding of increasingly complex texts by summarizing important ideas and citing a variety
of details that support the main idea (OME, Reading: 1.4).

Language Feature: Capitalization
The titles prime minister, president and vice-president are used in this article. Find each of the sentences that includes these words. One title is capitalized and the others aren’t. Why is this the case?