Zimbabwe’s influential war veterans have once again called for the immediate ouster of President Robert Mugabe after he ignored a 24-hour deadline to resign. They have called for fresh protests tomorrow, Tuesday.
Chris Mutsvangwa, leader of the war veterans also warned that should Mugabe not step down,his movement largely comprised of former combatants and comrades of Robert Mugabe during the struggle for independence, will mobilize the masses to hit the streets in another showdown to push him out of office on Tuesday.
"The people of Zimbabwe don't want to see him as president anymore. We saw him go on national television to pretend as if everything is normal. We are saying Mugabe go now - your time is up," Mutsvangwa said.
"Please leave state house and let the country start on a new page. You should have the dignity and decency to spare the country further turmoil by simply announcing your departure immediately," he said, " If he can't, we will bring the people of Zimbabwe back to the streets then he will have to settle his differences once more with the people of Zimbabwe.
"We are appealing to the people of Zimbabwe to come in large numbers on Tuesday. While the parliament will be doing its business of dispensing him, the people will be in the streets," Mutsvangwa said. Apart from the army, Zimbabwe's war veterans are also considered kingmakers in the ongoing political crisis in Zimbabwe.
University students demonstrate
In the meantime, students from the University of Zimbabwe have added their voices to that of many Zimbabweans calling for the resignation of President Robert Mugabe. Classes were cancelled and examinations postponed as students raged over Mugabe's insistence on staying in office, defying opposition from the military, his party and the public.
Many students say they can't find jobs after completion of their degrees. They also demanded university authorities that they rescind a doctor of philosophy degree that was erroneously awared to President Mugabe's wife, Grace Mugabe
"There are two things: One, we cannot write exams without security, two, we want the PhD that was given to Grace Mugabe to be withdrawn," Chrispin Mahachi, a students leader told DW.
"We are demonstrating today because we want the president to resign. People are graduating from this university but can't find employment. We want a new leader who can provide new hope for graduates because we can't store them [degrees] in our stores," a female student who preferred anonymity told DW.
The Univerity of Zimbabwe came under intense criticism following the first lady's graduation in 2014 with many saying that the university management was pressured into awarding her the degree. The PhD was granted to Grace, a former typist in the president's office, only months after she enrolled for the course, and shortly after she had been endorsed to lead the ruling party's women's league.
Privilege Musvanhiri in Harare contributed to this article.