Mugabe resigns, ending 38 years of rule

Mugabe, Mugabe

Robert Mugabe resigned as Zimbabwe’s president on Tuesday, a week after the army and his former political allies moved to end four decades of rule by a man once feted as an independence hero who became feared as a despot.

His former vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose sacking this month prompted the military takeover that forced Mugabe out, will be sworn in as president on Wednesday or Thursday, Patrick Chinamasa, legal secretary of the ruling ZANU-PF party, told Reuters




The 93-year-old Mugabe had clung on for a week after an army takeover, with ZANU-PF urging him to go. He finally resigned moments after parliament began an impeachment process seen as the only legal way to force him out.

Wild celebrations broke out at a joint sitting of parliament when Speaker Jacob Mudenda read out Mugabe’s brief resignation letter. Mugabe, confined to his Harare residence, did not appear.

People danced in the streets of Harare and car horns blared at the news that the era of Mugabe — who had led Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 — was finally over. Some brandished posters of Mnangagwa and army chief General Constantino Chiwenga.

His former vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose sacking this month prompted the military takeover that forced Mugabe out, will be sworn in as president on Wednesday or Thursday, Patrick Chinamasa, legal secretary of the ruling ZANU-PF party, told Reuters.

The 93-year-old Mugabe had clung on for a week after an army takeover, with ZANU-PF urging him to go. He finally resigned moments after parliament began an impeachment process seen as the only legal way to force him out.

Wild celebrations broke out at a joint sitting of parliament when Speaker Jacob Mudenda read out Mugabe’s brief resignation letter. Mugabe, confined to his Harare residence, did not appear.




People danced in the streets of Harare and car horns blared at the news that the era of Mugabe — who had led Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 — was finally over. Some brandished posters of Mnangagwa and army chief General Constantino Chiwenga.

Mnangagwa, 75, who fled Zimbabwe after his sacking in fear for his safety, was a chief lieutenant to Mugabe for decades and himself stands accused of participating in repression.

He was internal security chief in the mid-1980s when Mugabe deployed a North Korean-trained brigade against rebels during which 20,000 civilians were killed, according to rights groups.

Reuters reported in September that Mnangagwa was plotting to succeed Mugabe, with army backing, at the helm of a broad coalition to seek Zimbabwe’s re-engagement with the world after decades of isolation from global lenders and donors.




Nicknamed “Ngwena”, or crocodile in the Shona language, an animal famed in Zimbabwean lore for its stealth and ruthlessness, Mnangagwa issued a statement from hiding on Tuesday calling on Zimbabweans to unite to rebuild the country.

Opposition politician and former education minister David Coltart said that call gave hope of lifting a shattered economy from its knees, provided Mnangagwa made good on his promise to reach out to other factions.

“When we all wake up with hangovers tomorrow, we will be reminded of the dreadful state our nation is in – no money in the banks and businesses collapsing,” Coltart told Reuters.

“As Emmerson Mnangagwa said, ZANU-PF is not capable of resolving this issue on its own. I took some comfort from his words. If he translates them into action, the future is positive.”

Zimbabwe’s Platform for Concerned Citizens, a civil society group, called for a national dialogue and a “transitional authority” to decide the country’s future.

Theresa May, prime minister of former colonial power Britain, said Mugabe’s resignation “provides Zimbabwe with an opportunity to forge a new path free of the oppression that characterized his rule”. She said Britain, as “Zimbabwe’s oldest friend”, would do all it could to support the country.




The U.S. embassy in Harare said Zimbabwe was living “a historic moment”.

“Whatever short-term arrangements the government may establish, the path forward must lead to free, fair and inclusive elections,” it said in a statement.

-Reuters.







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