Robert Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 and once proclaimed that “only God will remove me,” resigned as president on Tuesday shortly after lawmakers began impeachment proceedings against him.
The speaker of the Parliament, Jacob Mudenda, read out a letter in which Mr. Mugabe said he was stepping down “with immediate effect” for “the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and the need for a peaceful transfer of power.”
Lawmakers erupted into cheers, and jubilant residents poured into the streets of Harare, the capital. It seemed to be an abrupt capitulation by Mr. Mugabe, 93, the world’s oldest head of state and one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders.
“It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to Zimbabwe,” Perseverance Sande, 20, said in central Harare minutes after news of the resignation began spreading, as crowds of people started singing around her. “I’ve been waiting so long for this moment.”
It is widely expected that Emmerson Mnangagwa, his former VP, whose firing precipitated the coup, will succeed him, so I’m not expecting much in the way of political change.
Mnangagwa was, after all, hip deep in the Gukurahundi massacres in Matabeleland in the early 1980s.