Mugabe resigns, will be replaced by ex-VP
Zimbabwe’s former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa will be sworn in as president tomorrow following the resignation of Robert Mugabe, the parliament speaker said on Nov. 22.
Speaker Jacob Mudenda said the ruling party ZANU-PF had informed him it has nominated Mnangagwa to fill the vacancy of the office of president, replacing the 93-year-old Mugabe who had clung on for a week after an army takeover.
Mugabe resigned on Nov. 21, 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.
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.
Workers turned the Christmas lights on early in Africa Unity Square and people climbed aboard armoured vehicles to pose for photographs with soldiers.
Despite the public outpouring of joy, Mugabe’s downfall was as much the result of in-fighting among the political elite as a popular uprising, although thousands of people rallied against him in the days after the army intervened last week.
The army seized power after Mugabe sacked Mnangagwa, ZANU-PF’s favourite to succeed him, in a bid 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.
Since the crisis began, Mugabe has been mainly confined to his “Blue Roof” mansion in the capital where Grace is also believed to be.
Amnesty International said that under Mugabe tens of thousands of people were tortured, forcibly disappeared or killed in a culture of impunity that allowed “grotesque crimes to thrive.”
“The people of Zimbabwe deserve better. The next generation of leaders must commit itself to upholding the constitution, living up to Zimbabwe’s international human rights obligations and treating its people with dignity and justice,” the rights group said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the United States said on Nov. 21 that President Robert Mugabe’s resignation offers Zimbabwe’s people a “historic opportunity” for change and could help end its isolation on the world stage.
“With the resignation of Robert Mugabe, today marks a historic moment for Zimbabwe,” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.