Robert Mugabe has resigned as president of Zimbabwe with immediate effect after 37 years in power, ushering in a new era for a country as uncertain as it is hopeful.
The man who ruled with an autocrat’s grip for so many years finally caved to popular and political pressure hours after parliament launched proceedings to impeach him.
He had refused to leave office during an eight-day crisis that began when the military took over last week. Clinging to the formal vestiges of power, he was unable or unwilling to recognise that after so many years of political mastery, he had lost control of both his party and the country.
Mugabe, who outwitted and outlasted so many opponents during his career, had appeared determined to fight on, turning a televised address to the nation on Sunday, when he was expected to announce his own retirement, into a defiant description of future plans.
So when the parliament speaker, Jacob Mudenda, announced that Mugabe had submitted his resignation in a letter, there was wild jubilation in parliament, replicated within minutes by large crowds on the streets of Harare and in other major cities.
Zimbabweans raced up and down the wide boulevards of the capital as the sun set, honking car horns, waving flags, singing, dancing and cheering.
The deal Mugabe has struck to leave power might tempt other rulers to leave before they are pushed, if he is able to protect his family and some of the assets he is thought to have accumulated while in power.
source: The Guardian