Dubai – The world’s oldest ruler Robert Mugabe finally resigned as Zimbabwe’s president on Tuesday, signalling the final end of his decades in power after last week’s military coup.
A letter from Mr Mugabe said that the decision was voluntary and that he had made it to allow a smooth transfer of power.
The 93-year-old despot wrote a letter saying he was quitting “with immediate effect,” said Jacob Mudenda, speaker of the country’s parliament.
Lawmakers erupted in cheer at the news, which came after days of uncertainty and chaos following the seizure of power by military chiefs.
Moments earlier, the parliament had begun to impeach Mugabe, who has run the increasingly impoverished southern African nation since its independence and the end of minority white rule in 1980. Mugabe has won elections, but over the past 15 years these have been marred by violence against political opponents.
He has presided over a deepening economic crisis in Zimbabwe, where people are on average 15% poorer now than they were in 1980.
He stunned Zimbabweans in a rambling live television address late Sunday night in which he surprised even his closest advisers by avoiding any mention of stepping down.
The country’s ruling ZANU-PF party had already removed Mugabe as leader, naming Emmerson Mnangagwa in his place.
It was Mugabe’s sacking of Mnangagwa as his vice president — paving the way for his wife, Grace, to succeed him — that triggered the army to seize control last Wednesday. – firstname.lastname@example.org