Fungi Kwaramba and Blessings Mashaya 22 November 2017
HARARE – The curtain finally came down on President Robert Mugabe’s
37-year rule, as he resigned with immediate effect yesterday, triggering
massive celebrations across the country.
Mugabe had been under siege since the country’s military intervened last
week to restore order and rescue the economy currently on the precipice
due to his misrule.
In his resignation read by the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda just
before he was to be impeached, Mugabe said his stepping down was
“Following a verbal communication with the Speaker of the National
Assembly, … Jacob Mudenda at 1353 hours on November 21, 2017 intimating
my intention to resign as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. I,
President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, in terms of section 96 (1) of the
Constitution of Zimbabwe hereby tender my resignation as the President of
the Republic of Zimbabwe with immediate effect.
“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 to ensure a
smooth, peaceful and nonviolent transfer of power that underpins national
security, peace and stability. Kindly give public notice of my decision as
soon as possible,” reads part of Mugabe’s resignation letter.
The resignation came as Zanu PF had recalled Mugabe on Sunday and replaced
him with his former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Yesterday, the party in collaboration with the MDC party had initiated a
motion for his impeachment.
This is no longer necessary now that Mugabe has heeded the call to step
Justice minister Happyton Bonyongwe, who is also the leader of the
Parliament, delivered Mugabe’s resignation letter to Mudenda.
Immediately, legislators went into a frenzy as they celebrated the fall of
a man they had gathered to impeach.
Mugabe’s resignation appears to be part of a deal negotiated by Father
Fidelis Mukonori, and former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda that secures
the 93-year-old’s family interests, both security and commercial.
His allies who have been in hiding at his residence, among them Higher
Education minister Jonathan Moyo and Local Government minister
Saviour Kasukuwere were also included in the deal to guarantee their safe
passage into exile.
Kasukuwere wrote a farewell message on Twitter before he left the country.
Moyo also said adios to the man he once loathed, then loved and served.
“There’ll never be anyone like…RG Mugabe. I’m grateful for the
opportunity to have served my country under and with him. I’m proud that I
stood with and by this iconic leader during the trying moments of the last
days of his presidency. Democracy requires politics to lead the gun,” said
On the streets of Harare, cars honked their horns and thousands poured
into the streets as news filtered through that the 93-year-old strongman,
who had failed to groom or anoint a successor, had finally succumbed to
Elsewhere, Zimbabweans took to the streets of Yeoville and Hillbrow
districts of the South African city of Johannesburg to celebrate news of
Around three million Zimbabweans have emigrated from their home country to
South Africa in search of work following Zimbabwe’s economic collapse.
British Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday said Mugabe’s resignation
gives Zimbabwe the chance to forge a new path, free from oppression.
“The resignation of Robert Mugabe provides Zimbabwe with an opportunity to
forge a new path free of the oppression that characterised his rule,” May
“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.”
May added in a statement that Britain, as “Zimbabwe’s oldest friend”,
would do all it could to support the country.
One of Africa’s most outspoken figures, Lieutenant General Khama, Botswana
President, had said in an open letter posted on the Botswana government
website that Mugabe should accept reality and step down to end
Zimbabweans’ unprecedented suffering.
Khama had spoken as his South African counterpart President Jacob Zuma and
Angolan leader Joao Lourenco were expected in the country today to break
the impasse between Mugabe and the military.
It is now not clear if Lourenco and Zuma, the chairperson of the Southern
African Development Community (Sadc), will still fly to Zimbabwe
considering that Mugabe has decided to throw in the towel.
Lourenco chairs the Sadc Organ on politics, defence and security.
Since last week, Mugabe’s world had collapsed around him.
He was abandoned by the once ever faithful military – which placed him
under house arrest.
His family and close allies had either fled or disowned him, and on
Saturday tens of thousands of citizens, known for their resilience,
marched to State House to demonstrate against his largely unfruitful rule.
On Sunday, his party which had elevated him to demigod status knocked him
from his lofty pedestal, amended the party’s constitution which created
the so-called one centre of power and named Mnangagwa as the interim party
president pending the December congress.
Also on Sunday, the country’s generals led by Zimbabwe Defence Forces
Commander Constantino Chiwenga met with him apparently coaxing him to step
down but he did not resign as was universally expected, leading his party
to go the legal route and impeach him.