Thursday, 23 November 2017

The Lagos State Police Command has arrested Peter Odion, the chef of a former Minister of Finance, Dr Kalu Idika, for his involvement in the robbery of his boss.

Odion lived with the ex-minister at 180A, Moshood Olugbani Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

He had allegedly put some sedatives into a cup of coffee he served the ex-minister on a Wednesday morning.

After Idika slept off, Odion was said to have led his gang members into the boss’ apartment, where they made away with a sum of N750,000, a Blackberry, a Samsung phone and other valuables estimated at about N10m.

Odion was paraded on Monday at the police command office in Ikeja along with four others identified as Samuel Ogana, Joy Omagu, Uboh Obi and Sunday Emmanuel.

The state Acting Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, said operatives of the State Intelligence Bureau, tracked down the suspects.

The CP said the gang members had wanted to adopt a similar method to rob one Mrs. Augustina Akhibi, when they met their Waterloo.

He said, “The syndicate is made up of six members who specialise in getting jobs as cooks or home helps and while in service, gain the trust of their principals and inject their food with drugs to make them sleep off. They thereafter cart away their principals’ belongings.

“The first victim, Dr Kalu Idika, was robbed of items worth N10,943,000 on September 20, 2017, while the second potential victim, Mrs. Akhibi, was used by the police as a bait to bust the syndicate.”

He added that drug substances like Diazepam Injection, ground nitrogen (morgodon) table, and a syringe filled with some substances, were recovered from the gang.”

The chef, Odion, who admitted to the crime, told PUNCH Metro that he was desperate to get a sum of N60,000 his boss allegedly owed him.

He said, “I started working with the man some months ago. The man owed me N60,000 and he refused to pay. I told my friend, Samuel (Ogana), and he gave me the drug to put in his tea. They came in when he was asleep and robbed him. I played along with them. Other workers in the house did not know I was involved. I got N100,000 from the proceeds.”

Twenty-year-old Omagu said Emmanuel acted as an agent and contracted her as a housemaid to Akhibi.

“He gave me some sedatives to make the woman sleep, but I had not used them when the police arrested me,” she added.

But 38-year-old Emmanuel denied that he gave the drugs to Omagu, noting that he had got a housemaid for the woman in the past.

He said, “I only told her (Omagu) that the woman was wicked and that she could do whatever she liked to her. I don’t know anything about the drugs.”

Published in News & Stories

The Lagos State Police Command has arrested Peter Odion, the chef of a former Minister of Finance, Dr Kalu Idika, for his involvement in the robbery of his boss.

Odion lived with the ex-minister at 180A, Moshood Olugbani Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

He had allegedly put some sedatives into a cup of coffee he served the ex-minister on a Wednesday morning.

After Idika slept off, Odion was said to have led his gang members into the boss’ apartment, where they made away with a sum of N750,000, a Blackberry, a Samsung phone and other valuables estimated at about N10m.

Odion was paraded on Monday at the police command office in Ikeja along with four others identified as Samuel Ogana, Joy Omagu, Uboh Obi and Sunday Emmanuel.

The state Acting Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, said operatives of the State Intelligence Bureau, tracked down the suspects.

The CP said the gang members had wanted to adopt a similar method to rob one Mrs. Augustina Akhibi, when they met their Waterloo.

He said, “The syndicate is made up of six members who specialise in getting jobs as cooks or home helps and while in service, gain the trust of their principals and inject their food with drugs to make them sleep off. They thereafter cart away their principals’ belongings.

“The first victim, Dr Kalu Idika, was robbed of items worth N10,943,000 on September 20, 2017, while the second potential victim, Mrs. Akhibi, was used by the police as a bait to bust the syndicate.”

He added that drug substances like Diazepam Injection, ground nitrogen (morgodon) table, and a syringe filled with some substances, were recovered from the gang.”

The chef, Odion, who admitted to the crime, told PUNCH Metro that he was desperate to get a sum of N60,000 his boss allegedly owed him.

He said, “I started working with the man some months ago. The man owed me N60,000 and he refused to pay. I told my friend, Samuel (Ogana), and he gave me the drug to put in his tea. They came in when he was asleep and robbed him. I played along with them. Other workers in the house did not know I was involved. I got N100,000 from the proceeds.”

Twenty-year-old Omagu said Emmanuel acted as an agent and contracted her as a housemaid to Akhibi.

“He gave me some sedatives to make the woman sleep, but I had not used them when the police arrested me,” she added.

But 38-year-old Emmanuel denied that he gave the drugs to Omagu, noting that he had got a housemaid for the woman in the past.

He said, “I only told her (Omagu) that the woman was wicked and that she could do whatever she liked to her. I don’t know anything about the drugs.”

Published in News & Stories

The Federal Government has floated the much awaited US$3 billion dual series bond to fund approved budgetary expenditures.

A statement from the Federal Ministry of Finance yesterday quoted Minister  Kemi Adeosun as saying that “the government would utilise the proceeds of the Notes in funding the approved budgetary expenditures and for refinancing of domestic debt, as may be applicable.”

According to Mrs. Adeosun, the Notes represent Nigeria’s fourth Eurobond issuance, following issuances in 2011, 2013 (two series) and earlier in 2017.

She noted: “Nigeria is implementing an ambitious economic reform agenda designed to deliver long-term sustainable growth and reduce reliance on oil and gas revenues while reducing waste and improving the efficiency of government expenditure.

“Our economy is beginning to recover, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) having returned to growth in 2017, but we must maintain the momentum behind our investments in order to further drive growth. That is why we are, and will continue to focus investment on the enabling infrastructure we need to broaden economic productivity.

“Successfully extending out debt profile in the international market to 30 years is a key element of that strategy as it establishes a basis for the longer term financing required for transformational infrastructure investment.

“As we have always stated we are progressively replacing debt with revenue, which is reflected in the 2018 Budget proposal. We are establishing the building blocks for inclusive growth and beginning to see the results of the hard decisions that have been made to reset our economy appropriately.”

The aggregate principal amount of the dual series bond is being offered notes under the Federal Government’s US$4.5 billion Global Medium Term Note programme (increased from US$1.5 billion).

The Notes comprise a US$1.5 billion 10-year series and a US$1.5 billion 30-year series.

The Ministry of Finance said “the 10-year series will bear interest at a rate of 6.5%, while the 30-year series will bear interest at a rate of 7.625%, which will be repayable with a bullet repayment of the principal on maturity.

The statement said “the offering, which attracted significant interests from leading global institutional investors, is expected to be closed on or about 28 November, 2017, subject to the satisfaction of various customary closing conditions.”

When issued, the Notes will be admitted to the official list of the UK Listing Authority and available to trade on the London Stock Exchange’s regulated market.

Nigeria may apply for the Notes to be eligible for trading and listed on the Nigerian FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange and the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

The pricing was determined following a roadshow led by Mrs. Adeosun; the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma; Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele; Debt Management Office (DMO) Director-General Ms. Patience Oniha, and the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Mr. Ben Akabueze.

Commenting on the Notes’ pricing, the DMO Director-General Patience Oniha said: “With the successful pricing of our 4th Eurobond, Nigeria has become one of the few African issuers whose securities have attracted strong investor interest amongst institutional investors across the globe.

“This time, Nigeria issued a new 10-year bond at a yield of 6.500% and a 30-year benchmark, priced at a yield of 7.625%, which despite the longer tenure remains cheaper than our 15-year issuance earlier this year.

“The 30-year is a landmark as the tenor represents the first by a sub-Saharan country other than South Africa and importantly establishes the basis for long term infrastructure funding, which is a priority for this government.”

Oniha expressed satisfaction with international investors’ recognition of Nigeria’s huge potential.

“Perhaps even more important is that with this dual tranche issuance the objective of reducing the cost of government borrowing has been achieved,” she added.

Published in Business and Economy

Panelists are Secondus’ men, Adeniran claims

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) remains unsettled as it heads for its December 9 convention.

National chairman aspirant Prof. Tunde Adeniran has kicked against the list of panelists to conduct the ward delegates’ election ahead of the convention. He has petitioned the leadership.

The party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting has been fixed for Abuja to ratify the list, among other decisions on the convention.

Adeniran said many members of the committee are sympathisers and supporters of Prince Uche Secondus, another chairmanship candidate.

In the Southwest, the faction led by Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe is laying claim to legitimacy. The leadership recognises Dr. Eddy Olafeso as the Vice Chairman (Southwest). Makanjuola is threatening a law suit should his faction be denied participation at the convention.

In Oyo State, a meeting on Sunday to settle the differences between the two factions on Sunday broke up in disagreement.

The director general of Adeniran’s Campaign Organisation, Alhaji Shehu Gabam, said the peace accord entered into by the eight chairmanship aspirants is threatened.

”A particular state has members on that list and some of  them are the leading campaigners for Prince Uche Secondus. We as campaign organisation were not consulted to bring one or two persons and I am sure other aspirants were not consulted too.

“It is an indirect way of short-changing other aspirants. The spirit behind the MoU we signed has been violated, not by the aspirants but by the party managers,” Gabam said.

The Adeniran camp mentioned Senator George Sekibo, Mr. Austin Opara, ThanGod Danagogo, Chief Kenneth Ubani Emeka Ihedioha as some of the Secondus loyalists on the list.

The Adeniran camp said: “Now you have just one chairmanship aspirant having his men deeply entrenched in a system that would determine how the delegates will emerge.

“The party created the division among the aspirants. The party should provide equal base for all aspirants and I want to say that we disagree with the composition of this list.”

Adeniran urged the party leadership to shun impunity and imposition of candidates, saying PDP must learn from past mistakes.

The camp yesterday rejected the call by the Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose for shadow primary elections for aspirants from the South West, saying the governor had already taken sides.

The Caretaker Committee of the PDP said: “We have received a petition written by Prof Adeniran on the matter and the Caretaker Committee will meet to discuss the petition this week.”

Ogundipe told reporters that the faction remained the authentic executive in the zone based on a subsisting court judgment.

Ogundipe said the continued recognition of Olafeso as Vice Chairman (Southwest) ran foul of the law as there had been no superior order to nullify the subsisting Abuja court judgment.

“We are the authentic Southwest zonal executive of the PDP, based on a subsisting court judgment and we want the party to accord us the due recognition.

“Any other group parading themselves as exco from the zone is committing an illegality as there has been no better judgement to nullify the court judgement affirming us as the authentic executive.

“Moreso, the subsisting court order restrained Olafeso and his group from participating in the Dec. 9 national convention.

“We do not want to constitute any problem to the convention and that is why we are saying the party should operate in accordance with law and allow us to present delegates from the zone.

“In the event that we are excluded, just as we were at the non-elective convention in Port-Harcourt, we shall take the necessary legal action, and that will affect the party in the long run,” he said.

Ogundipe said the Supreme Court judgment affirming Sen. Ahmed Makarfi as Caretaker Chairman did not nullify the leadership of his faction in the zone.

He urged all stakeholders to abide by the rule of law in order not to jeopardise the progress of the party.

Ogundipe cleared Chief Olabode George of any involvement in the leadership impasse in the zone.

He said an all-encompassing meeting of stakeholders in the zone, including national chairmanship aspirants, would soon hold, to decide on a united position of the zone to the convention.

Olafeso, in a statement yesterday said the Southwest PDP did not micro zone the chairman’s post.

He denied that the Southwest executive at its last meeting with stakeholders directed that national chairman aspirant must come from a particular state.

“This is patently false as no such decision was taken. We only zoned other offices that were zoned to the Southwest among all the states in the region and this action is traditional.

“The position of national chairman and deputy national chairman is zoned to the southern states and, as such is beyond the scope of the South West zone to unilaterally adjudicate on. We declare that all those gentlemen that have signified their intentions to contest for those positions remain at liberty to continue to prosecute their ambitions without hindrance.”

The attempt to resolve the crisis between the two factions in Oyo State failed at the weekend.

Senator Rashidi Ladoja called a parley in his home on Sunday but it ended in a stalemate as the faction led by Seyi Makinde, Hon. Mulikat Akande-Adeola, Alhaji Hazeem Gbolarumi and Senator Hosea Agboola rejected the terms of truce.

At the meeting, the representatives of the Makinde faction – Akande-Adeola, Agboola and Hon. Kehinde Ayoola- rejected the offer of a position for Akande-Adeola and Agboola to appease the faction.

The faction, it was learnt, insisted on harmonisation that will see both factions have almost equal number of slots in the State Executive.

The factions held parallel congresses on November 4.

The National Caretaker Committee invited Ladoja for a resolution. Ladoja was said to have promised the committee that he would resolve the crisis.  His promise made the national leadership to stop its intervention. The committee also considered the fact that both factions accepted the former governor as the leader.

At the Sunday meeting were also Sen. Femi Lanlehin, Chief Yemi Aderibigbe and Sen.  Ayo Adeseun from the Ladoja faction.

The meeting, which lasted for over two hours, failed to resolve the problem, with each camp not ready to shift grounds.

It was learnt that Makinde also rejected the two slots already given to him, saying he should have been allowed to present his own candidates.

Published in Politics

Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party will launch the parliamentary process on Tuesday for impeaching President Robert Mugabe, a government lawmaker told AFP.

The decision on Monday came after Mugabe missed a deadline to resign given to him by his party over the weekend.

Once a simple majority of parliamentarians vote for impeachment, an investigative committee is formed by lawmakers, who report back to both houses of parliament. Each house must then vote by a two-thirds majority for him to be stripped of office.

“We are expecting the motion to be over (Tuesday),” said ZANU-PF lawmaker Paul Mangwana, referring to the initial procedure to commence impeachment proceedings.

He added that ZANU-PF had approached the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party to seek their cooperation to pass the necessary parliamentary votes.

In a televised address late Sunday, the 93-year-old veteran leader defied expectations he would quit, pitching the country into a second week of political crisis.

The speech provoked anger and disbelief among many Zimbabweans, fuelling concerns that Mugabe could face a violent backlash.

Zimbabwe’s crisis erupted on November 13 after a factional squabble over the presidential succession erupted into the open prompting the army to seize power.

Published in Business and Economy
Monday, 20 November 2017 17:01

Alex Ekwueme dies in London hospital

Second Republic vice president, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, is dead.
 
The elder statesman’s death was disclosed in a statement issued by the Ekwueme family of Oko, in Anambra State.
 
The statement was reportedly released in the early hours of Monday.
 
The statement, signed by the former vice president’s brother, and the traditional ruler of Oko in Anambra State, Igwe Laz Ekwueme, explained that he passed on around 10:00 pm on Sunday, in a London hospital.
 
The statement read, “Ekwueme family regrets to announce the peaceful passing away of their patriarch, the former Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, GCON.
 
“The sad event occurred at the London Clinic at 10:00 pm on Sunday, 19th November, 2017.”
 
It would be recalled that Ekwueme was hospitalised in Memfys Neurosurgery Hospital, Enugu, for about two weeks before he was flown abroad for medical treatment on November 12.
 
The elder statesman was rushed to the hospital after collapsing at his residence in the Independence Layout area of Enugu on October 28.
 
It was learnt that the elder statesman was in a coma at the time he was admitted to the hospital.
 
Ekwueme, who celebrated his 85th birthday on October 10, reportedly suffered from a chest infection, according to his family members.
Published in Headliners

While acknowledging its human frailties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) insisted at the weekend that the party's 16 years of mistake remained far less than the calamity of the last two and half years of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in multiple dimensions.

A group, known as the National Volunteers for Lamido, which made the assertion in a statement issued in Abuja, noted that whatever the PDP did, it left the scene over two years ago and that exit provided Nigerians the opportunity to gauge the standard of performance. "From the economy, foreign relations where an APC government has decided to make caricature of the country, its leadership and people, security, wage theft, misapplication of resources and the lack of vision at all levels. This is total disaster."

In the statement, signed by its National Coordinator, Umar Danjani Hadeja, tgroup also accused the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu of deliberately choosing to feed the public with falsehood and obvious inaccuracies, deliberate misinformation, and even mischief bordering on denial and selective amnesia.

It was reacting to Garba's attempted response to a recent interview granted by a former governor of Jigawa state, Alhaji Sule Lamido to the Sun Newspaper, which was published on Saturday, November 11, 2017 wherein he fielded questions on his presidential ambition and the state of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as well as some snippets on reasoned insights on President Muhammadu Buhari's leadership style, the All Progressives Congress (APC) government and the future of Nigeria and the place of her youth.

The group particularly lampooned the Presidential Spokesperson for relishing in quackery whenever he ventures into the laborious attempts at rebuttals or rejoinders, more often, with scant regard for the truth. "Clearly, Garba's attempted response to the said Sule Lamido interview is yet another classic example of the PR disaster and liability that he now represents for the Buhari administration. Surely, we would care less for this misfortune of an appointee of Mr. President who is fishing and scavenging desperately for "stuff" that would make him look useful in a job he clearly does not know how to do. His brazen and intellectually lazy import-substitution mission for issues never raised in the interview in the effort to tar Alhaji Sule Lamido with a dirty brush is at best, mischievous, unprofessional and a damning verdict on Garba's."
While describing the attempt by Garba Shehu "to tar Alhaji Sule Lamido with a dirty brush" as mischievous, unprofessional and a damning verdict on the presidential spokesman, the group also expressed concern over the feeble and failed attempt to address or "attack" the facts of the matter raised in the Sule Lamido interview.

It took a swipe at the presidential spokesman for falsely accusing Alhaji Sule Lamido of impugning the integrity of the nation's judicial system and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), when, in actual fact, "the government is itself destroying," these two institutions.

"Where, for instance, did Garba see any reference to these institutions in the said interview? Did he at all, read the interview or in the classic case of playing the 'Boss', lazily rely on some subordinates who supposedly drew his attention to a publication he never sighted? And as if this was not shameful enough, he brazenly proceeded to blindly issue a 'rejoinder' to a publication he apparently knew nothing about. This is a further injury to the image, integrity and ethics of the journalism profession," it said.
According to the group, Garba has thrown up the poverty of the government's effort to water down any serious effort to address our national ills. " His usual habit of ignoring facts was manifest in his attempt to defend his party rather than the government's confused approach to implementing the agenda it promised."

The group however noted that Alhaji Lamido would not be deterred, distracted or cowed by the shenanigans of the ilk of Garba, stressing that as a statesman and nationalist whose sole driving impetus is improvement in the material condition of the ordinary Nigerian citizen, as well as carving a place of high repute for Nigeria in the comity of nations, "Alhaji Sule Lamido is forging ahead with steely determination and singleness of purpose."

"Lamido will continue to speak truth to power and call out the APC government in all its numerous failings. No amount of name-calling, falsehood, character assassination or intimidation will do the trick. Not from Garba Shehu, not from anyone else. The APC government must shape up or ship out, or else expect the Sule Lamidos of this Country and they are in the majority now, to continue to call it out," the group insisted.

Still comparing the PDP government with the current administration, the group further drew attention to what is called confusion and lies, cross messaging and open confrontation among various officials of government even while brazenly engaged in corrupt practices of various kinds as widely reported in the media. "This is worse than a calamity for a developing nation like ours. Garba should encourage the government he serves to investigate those cases instead of chasing shadows and silhouettes. If you check the markets, prices have skyrocketed. There is unemployment, poverty and hunger, which bad effects have shot over the roofs, while some officials including Garba are smiling, as they hide their loots from this government. These stories have become daily doses of media reportage. Time shall tell."

Maintaining that the antecedents of everyone given opportunity of service speaks for him or her, the group contended that Alhaji Sule Lamido comes across as a deliverer of promise, challenging anyone in doubt to visit Jigawa State to understand the difference between the Lamido years and the present reality. "Every visible productive project of stature dotting the entire landscape was initiated and completed by him."
"The essential Alhaji Sule Lamido is a quintessential leader who is and still loved by the people; among whom he lives to date. He speaks his mind, no matter who is involved. In the process, he has encountered and also survived the vicissitudes of politics while serving his fatherland. This has, over the years, shaped his vision with courage of conviction and strength of character. You may confirm by the kind and nature of people around him and his associates.

"Unlike Alhaji Sule Lamido, Garba is inconsequential inconsistent, foul mouthed and practicing quackery as Public Affairs management. Therefore, our final word and free consultancy for Garba is this: "Attend a refresher course on how not to be a Public Affairs assistant. We understand one such course is scheduled for some time in the year 2019, otherwise, you will remain an albatross on President Buhari's neck. Nigerians are watching"

Published in Politics

The police are probing the stabbing to death of Bilyamin Muhammed Bello by his wife, Maryam, in Abuja.

Bilyamin is a son of a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and one-time minister, Dr. Haliru Bello.

His wife, who is the suspect, is a daughter of former Aso Savings boss Hajia Maimuna Aliyu.

Hajia Aliyu was recently nominated into the board of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

The couple before the weekend tragic incident had a one-year old daughter.

“The FCT Police Command has commenced investigation into the matter.

“The case has been transferred to the Homicide Section for discreet investigation,” spokesman Anjuguri Manzah stated in a text message last night.

The suspect is being detained by the police while the deceased was buried yesterday after the Janazar prayer at the Central Mosque in Abuja.

Maryam was taken to her residence by homicide detectives for a search, fingerprints and forensic investigation.

She was saved from being mobbed by angry siblings and relatives of the deceased husband. 

Clinging to her seven-month old baby girl, Maryam, who looked remorseful, burst into tears after being led into the flat where she allegedly killed her husband.

According to sources, the jealous wife was uncomfortable with the text messages her late husband had been receiving from some women.

It was gathered that a particular message from a banker made the wife to attack her husband.

The source added: “They were at home when the wife became berserk over some text messages, including one allegedly suspected to be from a female banker.

“After engaging in a shouting match, the wife was embroiled in fighting with her husband before heading to the kitchen where she picked a knife to stab Bilyamin three times, including on his private parts.

“Drenched with blood, Bilyamin fought hard by crawling out of the couple’s flat to ask for help from neighbours.

“Upon hearing his distress call, neighbours, who had heard the exchange of words and banging of doors at the flat, ferried Bilyamin to a hospital.

“Unfortunately, the husband died in the hospital. The incident was reported to the police and Maryam was arrested by homicide detectives.”

Maryam is a graduate with two degrees from British university.

In a Whatsapp message yesterday afternoon, her mother Hajia Aliyu expressed shock and feeling of loss over the sad development.

“It is with a heavy heart but with total submission to the will of Allah that I announce the death of my son in-law, Bilyamin Bello Haliru, which sad event took place in the early hours of today.

“Prayers will be held at the Central Mosque…

“May Allah grant his soul Aljannah Firdaus as his permanent place of abode,” the grieving mother in-law stated.

There had been whispers of a rocky relationship in a marriage meant to bring two prominent families together but allegations of infidelity and plans to marry another wife might have caused the insecurity in Bilyamin’s Maitama home.

The patriarch of the family, Bello, is said to be away in the United States for medical attention.

“We were all sad, it was just too heavy for us to break the news to our father,” a family source added.

Published in Headliners

The Independent National Electoral Commission has declared Governor Willie Obiano of the All Progressives Grand Alliance the winner of the November 18, 2017 governorship election in Anambra State.

The Returnee Officer and Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Professor Zana Akpagu, made this declaration at the INEC office in Awka at the end of the collation of results from the 21 local government areas of the state. 

Obiano, who was running for a second term in office, polled 234,071 votes to beat Tony Nwoye of the All Progressives Congress, who came second with 98,752 votes.

The PDP governorship candidate Oseloka Obaze, came third in the November 18 contest with 70,293 votes.

Published in Headliners

Zimbabwe's ruling party has sacked Robert Mugabe as its leader, as pressure intensifies for him to step down as president.

Zanu-PF appointed ex-Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was fired by Mr Mugabe two weeks ago, in his place.

The party has given Mr Mugabe, 93, until 10:00 GMT on Monday to resign as president, or face impeachment.

The military intervened last week, in an apparent attempt to block him from installing his wife as his successor.

The first lady, Grace Mugabe, and several other senior officials have been expelled from the party altogether.

Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans attended street protests on Saturday, demonstrating against the Mugabes.

Mr Mugabe has also reportedly been meeting military leaders, according to Zimbabwe's The Herald.

While no details of the talks have been released, photos posted by the newspaper show the two sides - which also met several days ago - shaking hands.

Cheering erupted when the decision to dismiss Mr Mugabe as party leader was announced.

One senior official later told the BBC's Andrew Harding: "It's the dawn of a new era. Mugabe can go farming."

Zanu-PF's Central Committee also warned that impeachment proceedings would begin on Tuesday if Mr Mugabe did not step down as president by noon local time on Monday.

One party official said Mr Mnangagwa, who has since reportedly returned to Zimbabwe, had been nominated as the party's presidential candidate for the 2018 general elections.

President Mugabe and Grace Mugabe on 24 May 2014Image copyrightAFP
President Mugabe's wife, Grace, had emerged as a leading candidate to succeed her husband
Zimbabwe Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa listens as President Robert Mugabe (not pictured) delivers his state of the nation address to the countryImage copyrightREUTERS
But Mr Mnangagwa has re-emerged as front runner after his dismissal two weeks ago

His sacking prompted an extraordinary chain of events over the past week:

  • Mr Mnangagwa fled the country after his dismissal as Mr Mugabe's deputy two weeks ago
  • The army's chief of staff, Gen Constantino Chiwenga, warned last Monday that the military might intervene to stop purges in the party - and was roundly criticised by allies of the Mugabes
  • On Wednesday, soldiers seized the headquarters of the national broadcaster
  • Mr Mugabe has been mostly under house arrest for several days
  • On Saturday, unprecedented mass protests further weakened Mr Mugabe's position

Speaking ahead of the party meeting, the head of the influential War Veterans Association, Chris Mutsvangwa, threatened to "bring back the crowds and they will do their business" if Mr Mugabe did not step down.

Mr Mugabe has been president of Zimbabwe for 37 years, having led the country since it gained independence from Britain in 1980.

He has made just one public appearance since events unfolded, speaking at a university graduation ceremony on Friday.

Published in Headliners
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