Zimbabwe’s ruling party has sacked Robert Mugabe as party leader and given him until 12pm on Monday to resign or face impeachment.
While he still refuses to step aside as president, the removal of him as head of the ruling Zanu-PF puts the end of his 37-rule in the country closer.
Delegates danced and sang at a party meeting when Mugabe was removed, a move to force a peaceful end to his 37 years in power following a de facto military coup.
He was replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the deputy he sacked this month, Reuters reported.
Mnangagwa’s dismissal is what prompted the military to move against Mugabe, amid fears he would appoint his wife Grace to succeed him.
She was also expelled from the party.
Speaking before the meeting, Chris Mutsvangwa, a leader of influential group of war veterans, said the 93-year-old Mugabe was running out of time to negotiate his departure and should leave the country while he could.
“He’s trying to bargain for a dignified exit,” he said.
Mutsvangwa followed up with threat to call for street protests if Mugabe refused to go, telling reporters: “We will bring back the crowds and they will do their business.”
Mnangagwa, a former state security chief known as “The Crocodile,” is now in line to head an interim post-Mugabe unity government that will focus on rebuilding ties with the outside world and stabilising an economy in freefall.
On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people flooded the streets of Harare, singing, dancing and hugging soldiers in an outpouring of elation at Mugabe’s expected overthrow.
His stunning downfall in just four days is likely to send shockwaves across Africa, where a number of entrenched strongmen, from Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni to Democratic Republic of Congo’s Joseph Kabila, are facing mounting pressure to quit.