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Members of Canada's Zimbabwean community disappointed with Mugabe speech

Members of Canada's Zimbabwean community have been waiting days for news the country's president for 37 years would resign, so when word finally came that Robert Mugabe would make the announcement in a live broadcast on Sunday, they made sure they tuned in.

But when Mugabe, 93, spoke, he didn't step down and said he planned to address his party's congress next month.

"Everybody was waiting for the words, 'I resign. I hereby resign,'" said Vuso Moyana, who watched Mugabe on his iPad with his friends in a Toronto restaurant where they were having lunch after church.

"It was just amazing that he could say the things that he was, as if he's someone who is still in charge."

Tarongerwa Mavuwa, who lives in Calgary, said she's barely slept in the past week as she kept up with the latest news developments from the country where she was born.

As she and her family watched on live TV what they expected to be Mugabe's exit, she said they felt disappointment.

"It really felt like an anticlimax because we really thought he was just going to let us know and be kind enough to just step away from his throne."

Canadians with roots in Zimbabwe say they're proud of their home country. The population is well-educated, they note, and eager to rejoin the international community.

Instead, they say it remains mired in poverty, held back by a leader who refuses to let go.

The Central Committee of Mugabe's ruling party voted to dismiss him as party leader earlier Sunday.

They said impeachment proceedings would begin if he does not resign by noon Monday.

"I think the guy is hallucinating," said Remedzai, an Ontario resident who watched as Mugabe rambled and stumbled through the TV address while the military generals who have confined him to his home sat beside him.

Remedzai didn't want to give his last name, or even his municipality, over fears for the safety of friends in Zimbabwe.

"I was confused. How can he think he's still in power. Didn't he see all the demonstrations?"

But Perpetua Chizive, who watched with her family in Brampton, Ont., said Mugabe's farewell will still come — it just must happen according to the constitution, she said.

Chizive said she expects Mugabe will submit his resignation to the speaker of the national parliament very soon.

"If he had resigned in the presence of the military then the world would have seen that as a coup," explained Chizive. "We want the new government to be legitimate, not to be seen as a coup."

"We've been patient for the last 37 years and I'm sure that we can wait five more days that this will happen."

Mavuwa said she also thought this might be true, once the speech was over and she'd thought it over.

She noted the generals didn't appear uncomfortable during the broadcast.

"I think something is cooking. I think this is all part of the plan," she said.

Moyana, meanwhile, said he and others remain hopeful, grateful and happy that change is finally coming.

"As long (Mugabe) is there, the economic situation and the social stipulation is not going to change. So he represents a big problem for everybody," he said.

—by Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton

The Canadian Press

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