Robert Mugabe resigned as Zimbabwe’s president on November 21, a week after the army and his former political allies moved to end his 37-year rule.
The speaker of the Parliament, Jacob Mudenda, read out a letter in which Mugabe said he was stepping down “with immediate effect” for “the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and the need for a peaceful transfer of power.” The resignation letter made no mention of who he was leaving in charge of the country.
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 November 22 or 23, Patrick Chinamasa, legal secretary of the ruling ZANU-PF party, told Reuters.
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.
The army seized power after Mugabe sacked Mnangagwa, the veteran vice-president and former spy chief who has strong support among many in Zimbabwe’s armed forces, and ZANU-PF’s favorite to succeed him. Mnangagwa fled the country when he was accused of showing “traits of disloyalty”. This move was seen as paving the way for Mugabe’s wife, Grace Mugabe, 52, to succeed the 93-year-old president.
Since the crisis began, Mugabe has been mainly confined to his mansion in the capital where Grace is also believed to be, although he did attend a university graduation ceremony in the capital on November 17.
When Members of ZANU-PF, the ruling party which Mugabe co-founded to usher his country into independence, voted the President and his wife out on November 19 and anointed the previously ousted Mnangagwa as new party leader, Mugabe, during his televised address the same day, said he will preside over the ZANU-PF congress in December. Although he acknowledged the struggles and criticisms that led the nation’s security forces to seize power, and the pressure for him to resign, he did not stand down as President.