Jubilation greets end of Mugabe era

| Updated Nov 22, 2017 at 6:09am

 

 

Jubilant Zimbabweans celebrated late into the night after Robert Mugabe resigned as president.

He held power for 37 years and once said "only God" could remove him.

While still considered by some to be an African independence hero, his many critics see him as a despot who ruled by fear and brought a once-promising economy to near ruin.

His shock resignation came in the form of a letter read out by the speaker of parliament.

In it, Mr. Mugabe - who had so far resisted pressure from the public, the army and his own party to step aside - said he was resigning to allow a smooth and peaceful transfer of power, and that his decision was voluntary.

The announcement abruptly halted an impeachment hearing that had begun against him on Tuesday.

Lawmakers from the ruling party and opposition roared with glee, and spontaneous scenes of joy erupted in the streets with people dancing, singing, honking car horns and waving flags.

The ruling Zanu-PF party says former Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa will succeed Mr. Mugabe.

Mr. Mnangagwa's sacking earlier this month triggered a political crisis.

It had been seen by many as an attempt to clear the way for Grace Mugabe to succeed her husband as leader and riled the military leadership, who stepped in and put Mr. Mugabe under house arrest.

Mr. Mugabe, 93, was until his resignation the world's oldest leader.

According to the constitution his successor should be the current Vice-President, Phelekezela Mphoko, a supporter of Grace Mugabe.

But Zanu-PF legal secretary Patrick Chinamasa told Reuters news agency that Mr Mnangagwa would be sworn in on Wednesday or Thursday.

SOURCE: BBC News



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