Celebrations on the streets as Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe resigns

Frederick Owens
November 22, 2017

Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose ousting by Robert Mugabe prompted military intervention earlier this month, is the latest in a series of influential figures to demand an end to Mugabe's 37-year reign.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the resignation of President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday has given Zimbabwe "an opportunity to forge a new path free of the oppression that characterised his rule".

Mnangagwa fled Zimbabwe shortly after being sacked by Mugabe early in November.

The Zimbabwe ruling party official has said that recently fired Mr Mnangagwa will take over as the country's leader within 48 hours.

A former security chief known as The Crocodile, he was a key lieutenant to Mugabe for decades and stands accused of participating in repression against Zimbabweans who challenged the leader.

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The letter said in part, "I, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, in terms of section 96 of the constitution of Zimbabwe, hereby formally tender my resignation. with immediate effect". In the capital, Harare, auto horns blared, citizens hugged and people cried when news of his resignation broke at about 6.30pm local time.

Mugabe's resignation late on Tuesday triggered wide scale celebration and dancing in the streets of Harare.

"I am very happy with what has happened", said Maria Sabawu, a supporter of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), outside the hotel where the impeachment process was happening.

Earlier, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai told a crowd outside Parliament that a "democratic Zimbabwe can not be built by another un-democratic process". He has led Zimbabwe since a guerrilla struggle ended white-minority rule in the country formerly known as Rhodesia.

However, the military moved in last week after he fired his deputy, apparently so he could position his unpopular wife to "usurp" power.

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