Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s iron rule has seen a once rich country descend into poverty and chaos.
But the 93-year-old dictator seems to have no choice other than to give up the power that has been wrested from in a bloodless take over by the army.
Generals insist their move was not a coup, but Mugabe has no choice but to resign.
Even though he made a defiant appearance at a graduation ceremony in the country’s capital of Harare, the military and civil leaders have made clear he has no role to play in the future of the impoverished country.
Under house arrest for most of the week, the army says Mugabe is safe and engaging in talks about the future of the government.
No going back for Mugabe
Christopher Mutsvangwa, the leader of the influential war veterans’ association and tipped as the new head of government, said Mugabe should step down at once as he urged a huge turnout in street protests on Saturday.
“We want to restore our pride and tomorrow is the day. We can finish the job which the army started,” he said.
“There’s no going back about Mugabe. He must leave.”
The tipping point for the aging president’s regime seemed to come on the eve of his nominating his wife Grace to succeed him in office.
After taking over key points in the country, the army explained the Mugabes were not a dynasty and free elections were needed.
Country is bankrupt
The disaffection in Mugabe’s party follows a succession fight as he readies for retirement. Different factions within the government were looking to tighten their hold on power without any one side gaining the upper hand.
Anti-colonial factions were also incensed that vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa intended to ask Britain and other nations for help in rebuilding the Zimbabwe economy if he gained control of the government.
Zimbabwe is virtually bankrupt and has faced inflation of billions of percent since the turn of the century.
Anger is also directed at the factions seeking power over the part they played in massacres following independence in from Britain in 1980. At least 20,000 people are estimated to have died in civil strife after the split.