Robert Mugabe has resigned as president of Zimbabwe, ending his 37-year rule
Robert Mugabe today resigned as president of Zimbabwe, parliament speaker Jacob Mudenda said.
The 93-year-old said in a letter that the decision was voluntary and that he had made it to allow a smooth transfer of power, according to Reuters news agency.
The announcement, which took effect immediately came during a hearing to impeach Mugabe and brought proceedings against him to a halt.
After 37 years in power, Zimbabwe’s military last week detained the leader, taking control of the country and triggering an eight-day crisis.
MPs broke out into cheers as the news was read out, with celebrations spreading to the streets of Harare where citizens sang and danced.
The 93-year-old’s downfall was quick and something most wouldn’t have imagined a month ago.
His departure was also free of violence, his long-time supporters seeming to accept that his days were numbered.
Mugabe’s ZANU PF party even expelled him, hardly anyone of note speaking out to support him.
Just days ago Mugabe was insisting that he would remain president, describing himself as the country’s only legitimate leader, a defiance that has always worked in his favour in the past whenever there was a serious threat to his rule.
At the heart of his downfall was the question of who would succeed him, with his critics saying he was plotting to hand over the presidency to his unpopular wife, 52-yr-old “Gucci” Grace.
They said this is the reason for him sacking vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, a move that sparked the army’s taking over of Zimbabwe.
Lovemore Matuke, a ZANU-PF official, told The Associated Press that Mnangagwa, who fled the country after his firing, would take over within 48 hours.
Aged 93, Mugabe was the world’s oldest leader and ran the African country since the end of white-minority rule 1980.
For many in Zimbabwe, they have only known him as president, held up as an independence hero after helping the country break away from Britain
Recently, however, was increasingly criticised for leading his country down the path of economic hardship, forcing hundreds of thousands to leave the country to look for work.