Robert Mugabe has resigned as president of Zimbabwe
Robert Mugabe has resigned as president of Zimbabwe with immediate effect after 37 years in power, ushering in a new era for a country as uncertain as it is hopeful.
The man who ruled with an autocrat’s grip for so many years finally caved to popular and political pressure hours after parliament launched proceedings to impeach him.
He had refused to leave office during an eight-day crisis that began when the military took over last week. Clinging to the formal vestiges of power, he was unable or unwilling to recognize that after so many years of political mastery, he had lost control of both his party and the country.
Mugabe, who outwitted and outlasted so many opponents during his career, had appeared determined to fight on, turning a televised address to the nation on Sunday, when he was expected to announce his own retirement, into a defiant description of future plans.
So when the parliament speaker, Jacob Mudenda, announced that Mugabe had submitted his resignation in a letter, there was wild jubilation in parliament, replicated within minutes by large crowds on the streets of Harare and in other major cities.
“I’m excited for myself, my baby, the whole nation,” said Mildred Tadiwa, who was out with her five-month old daughter. “My daughter will grow up in a better Zimbabwe.”
Meanwhile in Johannesburg - Hundreds of Zimbabweans who fled their homeland for South Africa during the despotic rule of Robert Mugabe took to the streets of Johannesburg to celebrate the resignation of the hated president.
Blowing vuvuzelas, waving Zimbabwean flags and stamping their feet, Zimbabweans danced their way through Hillbrow, a cosmopolitan Johannesburg neighbourhood with a strong community of African immigrants.
"We want to go back home, even tomorrow, even now at night. I'm very happy," Spiwe Ncube, 42, told ngiyesabanews, 16 years after leaving Zimbabwe "to find food" in neighbouring South Africa.
Mugabe took power in 1980 and set his country - once known as southern Africa's bread basket - on a course of economic disaster, and agricultural production plummeted in the wake of farm reforms.