(Telegraph) – Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe finally resigns, sparking wild jubilation on the streets of Harare.
Robert Mugabe resigned as Zimbabwe’s president on Tuesday, a week after the army and his former political allies moved against him, ending four decades of rule by a man who turned from independence hero to archetypal strongman.
The 93-year-old had clung on for a week after an army takeover and expulsion from his own ruling ZANU-PF party, but resigned shortly after parliament began an impeachment process seen as the only legal way to force him out.
Wild celebrations broke out at a joint sitting of parliament when Speaker Jacob Mudenda announced Mr. Mugabe’s resignation and suspended the impeachment procedure.
People danced and car horns blared on the streets of Harare at news that the era of Mugabe – who has led Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 – was finally over.
Some held posters of army chief General Constantino Chiwenga and former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose sacking this month triggered the military takeover that forced Mr. Mugabe out. “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.
“I have suffered a lot at the hands of Mugabe’s government,” she said, showing her hand with a missing finger that she said she lost in violence during a presidential run-off election between Mr. Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in 2008.
During his reign, he took the once-rich country to economic ruin and kept his grip on power through repression of opponents, although he styled himself as the Grand Old Man of African politics and kept the admiration of many people across Africa.
Despite the outpouring of joy on the streets, Mr. Mugabe’s downfall was as much the result of in-fighting among the political elite as a popular uprising, although thousands of people rallied against him in the days after the army intervened last week.
Mr. Mugabe is the only leader Zimbabwe has known since a guerrilla struggle ended white-minority rule in the former Rhodesia.