Harare: Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe resigned as president with immediate effect today after 37 years in power, shortly after parliament began impeachment proceedings against him.
“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 which was read out in parliament, sparking cheers and dancing.
Ruling party chief whip Lovemore Matuke told The Associated Press that recently fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa would take over as the country’s leader within 48 hours.
Matuke said Mnangagwa, who fled the country after his firing, “is not far from here.” Matuke said they look forward to Mugabe doing the handover of power “so that Mnangagwa moves with speed to work for the country.”
Cars began honking horns and people cheered in the streets as the news spread like wildfire across the capital, Harare.
Mugabe, who had been the world’s oldest head of state at 93, said that proper procedures should be followed to install new leadership.
Mugabe’s resignation brought an end to the impeachment proceedings brought by the ruling ZANU-PF party after its Central Committee voted to oust the president as party leader and select Mnangagwa as his replacement. AP