Zimbabwe’s long-awaited moment of celebration has finally arrived with the 93-year-old strongman Robert Mugabe announcing his resignation after a reign of 37 years. On November 21 his letter, wherein he expressed his decision to step down from power to allow a peaceful leadership change, was read out by the speaker of the Zimbabwean parliament, Jacob Mudenda. With his announcement, Mr Mugabe has saved himself from the ordeal of an impeachment hearing that had been initiated against him.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, the former vice-president who was fired last week by Mr Mugabe, is expected to take over as the interim president until the national elections next year. It was in November 6 that Mr Mugabe expelled Mr Mnangagwa, in a bid to install his wife Grace as the next president. Mr Mugabe’s attempt to arrest the nation’s top military commander in the next few days plunged the nation into a political turmoil, with the army taking the old-timer to custody.

Once a revered liberation leader, Mr Mugabe increasingly became a despot, repressing dissenters and enriching allies and coterie. The crackdown on protestors in the 1980s that left thousands of civilians dead remains a shameful scar on his reign. Under him, Zimbabwe descended into economic misery that forced it to lose its currency in 2009. Over the last 15 years, elections were increasingly tarnished by violence against political opponents.

As the nation celebrates the end of a suffocating rule, there are concerns over Mr Mnangagwa’s role as the likely successor. He carries a tarnished reputation for being involved in the 1980s crackdown and the rigged elections of 2008. Also significant is the fact that Mr Mugabe’s ouster was not a result of a popular mass movement, but rifts within the ruling Zanu-PF party.

British Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her country’s support for its former self-governing colony. “The resignation of Robert Mugabe provides Zimbabwe with an opportunity to forge a new path free of the oppression that characterised his rule… In recent days, we have seen the desire of the Zimbabwean people for free and fair elections and the opportunity to rebuild the country’s economy under a legitimate government”, she said.

(Pritha Mahanti contributed inputs for this article)





Zimbabwe’s long-time President Robert Mugabe has been put under house arrest as the country’s military continues negotiations to find a new leader. Earlier, the army took control over government offices and the state broadcaster, saying it was targeting “criminals” around the president.The army’s move which began Tuesday with tanks entering the outskirts of Harare raised speculations about a military coup. The leader of Zimbabwe’s War Veterans Association told ITV News that the military had removed Mugabe who has been ruling the country for 37 years.

The army, however, said in a televised statement on Wednesday that there was no “military takeover of government” underway and that the president was “safe and sound.”On Wednesday, South African President Jacob Zuma announced that he had been contacted by Mugabe, who had been “confined to his home but said that he was fine.” Later on in the day, the African Union stated that the crisis in Zimbabwe “seems like a coup” and urged  respect for the country’s Constitution. According to Alpha Conde, the head of the organization and president of Guinea, the African Union condemns the actions of the military in Zimbabwe as “clearly soldiers are trying to take power by force”.

Meanwhile, there has been speculation that Emmerson Mnangagwa could be the most likely successor to the 93-year-old president.In early November, Mugabe dismissed Mnangagwa, the first vice president of Zimbabwe, who enjoyed the support of the country’s army. On Monday, Constantine Chiwenga, the commander of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces, called on the president to stop the purge within the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) party, from which Mnangagwa had been expelled.On Thursday, it was also reported Morgan Tsvangirai, an opposition leader and the country’s former prime minister, has returned to Zimbabwe amid the leadership crisis.

Courtesy:Sputnik News


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