Rabat - President Robert Mugabe has finally resigned this Tuesday, according to the Zimbabwean parliament. In a letter read on his behalf, Mugabe agreed to leave power in “immediate effect” days after refusing to step down from his position.
Rabat – President Robert Mugabe has finally resigned this Tuesday, according to the Zimbabwean parliament. In a letter read on his behalf, Mugabe agreed to leave power in “immediate effect” days after refusing to step down from his position.
“I chose to voluntarily resign […] this decision was motivated by […] my desire to ensure a smooth, peaceful and non-violent transfer of power,” the letter read. The shocking announcement halted an impeachment hearing that had been launched against him.
The news seemed to delight the lawmakers, who erupted into cheers, while jubilant residents took to the streets of Harare, the capital, to scream their joy. It is an abrupt surrender for Mugabe, 93, the world’s oldest head of state and one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders.
While the letter did not mention who would take over, the former vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has been floated as his successor, although Mugabe technically sacked him 13 days ago.
The way is now clear for Mnangagwa to take power. He was appointed interim leader of Zanu-PF ruling party at a meeting on Sunday.
Mugabe’s resignation closes a tense eight-day crisis that started when the military took over last week in order to block the rise to power of Mugabe’s wife and her faction within the Zanu-PF party, before growing into a popular revolt against the leader.
The military has said it has no intention of staying in power and, according to the constitution, Mnangagwa should now take the place of Mugabe as head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
In power for 37 years, Mugabe had previously refused to resign despite last week’s military takeover and days of protests. “Only god will remove me!” he screamed after being expelled on Sunday from Zanu-PF, the political party he had led for decades.
After his raucous refusal to step down, the members of the party launched an impeachment motion against Mugabe, invoking a constitutional process that has never been tested before. Thousands of people turned up outside parliament to support the MPs, chanting, dancing, and waving placards in Africa Unity square.