Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe baffled the country by ending his address on national television without announcing his resignation.
The ruling party’s Central Committee just hours earlier told him to resign as president by noon Monday or face impeachment proceedings the following day.
Zimbabweans gathered in expectation of a celebration. Instead, Mugabe appeared to hint at challenging the ruling party, which has expelled him as its leader, by trying to stay on.
Officials close to the talks between Mugabe and the military had said Mugabe was resigning.
Mugabe’s speech did note the political turmoil that led to his military house arrest and expulsion as ruling party leader.
He addressed, “From tonight … the nation at all levels gets refocused.He added, “failures of the past” may have triggered anger “in some quarters, which he calls “quite understandable.”
Tens of thousands of people poured into the streets of the capital Saturday to demand that Mugabe, one of Africa’s last remaining liberation leaders, step aside after overseeing the once-prosperous country’s economic collapse.
Zimbabweans say they feel profoundly disappointed that Mugabe is resisting pressure to step aside.
Victor Matemadanda, secretary general of the country’s war veterans association, said he feels betrayed.
He said, “He is playing games with the people of Zimbabwe. He agrees to go and then plays games with us like that at the last minute.”