Harare’s streets deserted as Zimbabwe stays home to watch Mugabe’s speech – but is this the calm before the storm?




This was the eerie scene on the streets of Zimbabwe’s on Sunday night as the city received the news that dictator Robert Mugabe was clinging to power.

Harare turned into a virtual ghost town as crowds that had been celebrating Mugabe’s imminent demise flocked to their television sets to watch him speak.

But even after Mugabe failed to step down crowds stayed indoors, fearful of what might be about to happen next.

The streets of Harare, which had been filled with bustling protesters just hours before, completely emptied during Mugabe's speech on Sunday

The streets of Harare, which had been filled with bustling protesters just hours before, completely emptied during Mugabe’s speech on Sunday

Crowds that had been celebrating the President's seemingly-imminent demise all packed inside to listen to what was due to be a resignation speech

Crowds that had been celebrating the President’s seemingly-imminent demise all packed inside to listen to what was due to be a resignation speech

But even after Mugabe decided to cling to power the crowds failed to return, perhaps fearful of repercussions for their earlier actions

But even after Mugabe decided to cling to power the crowds failed to return, perhaps fearful of repercussions for their earlier actions

Opponents of Mugabe vowed to hold more demonstrations in Harare on Wednesday, but an eerie silence prevailed on Sunday night

Opponents of Mugabe vowed to hold more demonstrations in Harare on Wednesday, but an eerie silence prevailed on Sunday night

One man, who asked not to be named, told MailOnline: ‘My dreams have all died. Now we are returning to a life of fear.’

Residents were concerned that the police, which had been withdrawn by the army, would return to the streets and start to enforce Mr Mugabe’s repressive controls once again.

Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans have openly demonstrated against Mr Mugabe, and now they stayed at home fearing that brutal repercussions.

Despite Mugabe’s bold refusal to loose his grip on power, military officials vowed to press ahead with impeaching him on Monday.

Meanwhile Chris Mutsvangwa, who has been leading a campaign to oust Mugabe, vowed that people would take to the streets of Harare for protests on Wednesday.

A viewer reacts with shock after learning that Mugabe would not be resigning on Sunday night despite being held under house arrest by the military

A viewer reacts with shock after learning that Mugabe would not be resigning on Sunday night despite being held under house arrest by the military

Zimbabweans had been expecting to watch their president of 37 years resign on Sunday, but instead watched as he vowed to fix the country himself

Zimbabweans had been expecting to watch their president of 37 years resign on Sunday, but instead watched as he vowed to fix the country himself

Men in a bar in Harare watch as Mugabe delivers a bizarre, rambling speech in which he failed to loosen his grip on power

Men in a bar in Harare watch as Mugabe delivers a bizarre, rambling speech in which he failed to loosen his grip on power

Mugabe promised to preside over a party conference in the next few weeks, despite being removed as leader earlier in the day following a vote of no confidence

Mugabe promised to preside over a party conference in the next few weeks, despite being removed as leader earlier in the day following a vote of no confidence

Meanwhile the Zanu PF Twitter feed, which has been disseminating messages on behalf of Mugabe’s opponents since the military took power, appeared to suggest that he had gone off-script with his remarks.

In the moments after Mugbae’s bizarre and rambling speech, in which he struggled with his notes several times, the feed vowed: ‘Don’t worry, be patient. We have decided to be kind.’

But that stance changed suddenly with another message which said: ‘Actually all the old man needed to do was stick to the script. Now we must remove him.’

It later added: ‘We gave Robert Gabriel Mugabe every chance to have a dignified exit. But he is mad.’  – MailOnline