Harare - At least eight of the 10 provincial co-ordinating committees of Zimbabwe's governing Zanu-PF have called on President Robert Mugabe to step down, saying he is old and has lost control of the party and government business, according to reports.
The state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) reported on Friday that the PCCs also called for a special Zanu-PF central committee meeting within 48 hours to discuss the current political situation after the military took control of the country earlier this week.
The provinces were "in solidarity" with the Zimbabwe Defence Force (ZDF) and its head General Constantino Chiwenga, the ZBC reported.
According to the report, former Zimbabwean vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa retained his position in Zanu-PF. The party's Ziyambi Ziyambi reportedly said his dismissal was not endorsed by the central committee as per the constitution of the party.
Zimbabwe's independent daily newspaper NewsDay reported that all 10 Zanu-PF provinces passed a vote of no confidence in Mugabe and declared the 93-year-old leader - who has been in office for 37 years - "too old and incapacitated" to lead both the party and government.
Television news station Al Jazeera reported that a second demonstration - besides the planned Harare mass march - was also expected to take place on Saturday, at Davis Hall, Zanu-PF's headquarters in Bulawayo.
Expelled Zanu-PF and independent parliamentarian Temba Mliswa told Al Jazeera that if Mugabe refused to step down a motion to pass a no-confidence vote would be put before parliament at its next sitting on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Zimbabwe’s military seized control of the ZBC and said it was acting against “criminals” surrounding Mugabe. A spokesman for the military has denied that a coup is unfolding, though Mugabe and his family are under house arrest in the capital’s leafy Borrowdale suburb.
At the time, Chiwenga warned that the army would take “drastic action” if factions in Zanu-PF did not stop purges against party members with military backgrounds.
The military action was sparked by Mugabe's sacking of war veteran Mnangagwa amid a struggle for the party leadership with Mugabe’s wife Grace, who is supported by the youthful “G40” party faction. Mnangagwa fled to South Africa but is reported to have returned to Zimbabwe on Wednesday to take control of government.
On Friday, Chris Mutsvangwa, a leader of Zimbabwe’s veterans of the war against colonial rule, said Mugabe’s rule was about to end.