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Wild celebrations after Mugabe resigns

World

Robert Mugabe has resigned as Zimbabwe’s president, shortly after parliament began an impeachment process to end his nearly four decades of rule.

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The 93-year-old clung on for a week after an army takeover and expulsion from his own ruling ZANU-PF party, which also told him to leave power.

On Tuesday, wild celebrations broke out during a joint sitting of parliament when Speaker Jacob Mudenda announced 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.

Zimbabwe’s former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa will be sworn in as president on Wednesday or Thursday, ZANU-PF legal secretary Patrick Chinamasa told Reuters, after the resignation.

Separately, ZANU-PF chief whip Lovemore Matuke told Reuters that Mnangagwa would be sworn in within 48 hours and that he would serve the remainder of Mugabe’s term until the next general elections, which must be held by September 2018.

The origin of Mugabe’s sudden downfall lies in rivalry between members of Zimbabwe’s ruling elite over who will succeed him, rather than popular protests against his rule.

The army seized power after Mugabe sacked ZANU-PF’s favourite to succeed him, Mnangagwa, to smooth a path to the presidency for his wife Grace, 52, known to her critics as “Gucci Grace” for her reputed fondness for luxury shopping.

Mnangagwa, a former security chief known as The Crocodile, is expected to take over as president.

Zimbabwe’s military chief Constantino Chiwenga urged restraint across all political parties after the resignation.

– Reuters

Mugabe’s 37-year rule: a timeline of chaos

1963: Mugabe and others form the Zanu party, set up to oppose white minority rule in the British colony of Rhodesia

1980: Independence from Britain. Mugabe becomes prime minister of newly named Zimbabwe

1982: Mugabe sacks fellow independence fighter Joshua Nkomo, who is head of the Zapu party and launches violent campaign against suspected dissidents in Matabeleland, Nkomo’s homeland. The government is accused of killing thousands of civilians

1987: Mugabe changes constitution and becomes president

1994: Mugabe receives honorary British knighthood

1996: Mugabe marries his former secretary Grace Marufu

2000: Land seizures of white-owned farms begin, Western donors cut off aid

2005: United States calls Zimbabwe an “outpost of tyranny”

2008: Mugabe and opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai agree to share power after contested election, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth annuls Mugabe’s honorary knighthood

2011: Prime Minister Tsvangirai declares power-sharing a failure amid violence

2013: Mugabe wins seventh term, opposition alleges election fraud

2016: #ThisFlag protest movement emerges, independence war veterans turn on Mugabe, calling him “dictatorial”

2017: Mugabe begins campaigning for 2018 elections

Nov 6: Mugabe fires deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, appearing to position first lady Grace Mugabe for vice president post

Nov 15: Army announces it has Mugabe and his wife in custody as military appears to take control

Nov 18: Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans march against Mugabe

Nov 19: Ruling party Central Committee tells Mugabe to resign as president by noon Monday or face impeachment. He addresses the nation but does not step aside

November 21: Mugabe’s resignation is announced in parliament after lawmakers begin impeachment proceedings.

– DPA

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