Zimbabwe’s President Mugabe has resigned after 37 years in power
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Robert Mugabe resigned as Zimbabwe’s president on Tuesday, shortly after parliament began an impeachment process to end his nearly four decades of rule.
The 93-year old clung on for a week after an army takeover and expulsion from his own ruling ZANU-PF party, which also told him to leave power.
Wild celebrations broke out at a joint sitting of parliament when Speaker Jacob Mudenda announced Mugabe’s resignation and suspended the impeachment procedure.
"My decision to resign is voluntary on my part and arises from my concern for the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and my desire for a smooth, non-violent transfer of power," said Mugabe in his letter, sparking cheers and dancing.
The resignation letter written by Mugabe and read out by Mudenda made no mention of who he was leaving in charge of the country.
Yet ZANU-PF legal secretary Patrick Chinamasa told Reuters that Zimbabwe’s former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, also known as The Crocodile, will be sworn in as president on Wednesday or Thursday.
Separately, ZANU-PF chief whip Lovemore Matuke told Reuters that Mnangagwa would be sworn in within 48 hours and that he would serve the remainder of Mugabe’s term until the next general elections, which must be held by September 2018.
The origin of Mugabe’s sudden downfall lies in rivalry between members of Zimbabwe’s ruling elite over who will succeed him, rather than popular protests against his rule.
The army seized power after Mugabe sacked ZANU-PF’s favourite to succeed him, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to smooth a path to the presidency for his wife Grace, 52, known to her critics as “Gucci Grace” for her reputed fondness for luxury shopping.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS and AP)