ROBERT MUGABE has resigned as president of Zimbabwe, one week after a military intervention to curtail his four-decade-long reign.
The announcement was made on Tuesday afternoon by the speaker of the country’s parliament, where proceedings had already begun to impeach the 93-year-old president. A letter submitted by Mr Mugabe to the parliament stated that his resignation had been voluntary.
Mr Mugabe had defied expectations and refused to resign in a long speech made on national television on Sunday, despite the fact that Zimbabwean Defence Forces had turned on him in the early hours of Wednesday of last week and had been directing affairs in the nation ever since. Members of Mr Mugabe’s ZANU PF party joined calls for him to resign.
In the hours that followed, the general secretary of the Zimbabwean Council of Churches, the Revd Dr Kenneth Mtata, spoke with hope about “the birth of a new nation” and called on all political and civil actors to rebuild a broken society.
And the Archbishop of Canterbury posted a message on Facebook “praying intensely” for a peaceful solution: “In recent days I have been following events in Zimbabwe closely and praying intensely for a peaceful solution to this situation.
“I am praying for the whole nation of Zimbabwe — its people, its military, its political leaders — that they may find a path forward that leads to the flourishing of this nation and all its people.”
At the news of his resignation on Tuesday, celebrations erupted in the streets of the capital of Harare, Reuters reported. The announcement was also welcomed by the main opposition party in South Africa, Democratic Alliance. It said in a statement that the former president had transitioned “from liberator to dictator” in the 37 years of his rule, after he had led Zimbabwe to independence from the UK in April 1980.
A spokeswoman for the Archbishop of York said on Tuesday that Dr Sentamu was continuing to pray for the people of Zimbabwe. Dr Sentamu cut up his clerical collar ten years ago, saying that he would not wear one again until Robert Mugabe was out of office.