Updated 6:15 p.m. EDT, November 21
Zimbabwe’s longtime autocratic ruler Robert Mugabe resigned from office on Tuesday, yielding to pressure from his political party and the military, CNN reported.
Applause erupted in Parliament as the speaker read aloud a letter from the 93-year-old former leader. As many expected, the ZANU-PF party appointed Mugabe’s former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to replace the ousted president. Meanwhile, Zimbabweans took to the streets to celebrate Mugabe’s downfall.
Former Zimbabwean Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to replace ousted President Robert Mugabe, in what many expect to be an exchange of one brutal autocrat for another.
The party resolution that removed Mugabe on Sunday faulted him for following the advice of “counterrevolutionaries and agents of neo-imperialism” to dismiss Mnangagwa as vice president, calling for the “immediate and unconditional reinstatement” of Mnangagwa until at least the next national election scheduled for 2018, the New York Times reported.
Mugabe’s 37-year rule officially came to an end when his own governing party, ZANU-PF, held emergency talks on Sunday and appointed Mnangagwa as the success to the 93-year-old autocrat, the Times reported. The sudden end of Mugabe’s long dictatorship began on Wednesday when the army took control of the government and restrict Mugabe to his residence. The party also expelled Mugabe’s wife, Grace Mugabe, as leader of the ZANU-PF Women’s League. The dictator had been grooming her to be his successor as president. But on Sunday, party leaders banished Grace Muabe, who has not been seen in public since the military takeover, and several other Mugabe allies from party membership.
Mnangagwa, 75, was a close ally of Mugabe who fought with the ousted leader in the liberation struggle against White rule. Like Mugabe, he has a dark past, CNN reported. A U.S. diplomat stationed in the Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, had written in an assessment that Mmangagwa is “widely feared and despised throughout the country,” adding that he’s likely “an even more repressive leader” than Mugabe, according to CNN. Zimbabwe’s new leader once headed the country’s secret police and was Mugabe’s enforcer, who was accused of involvement in a 1983 massacre of an ethnic group that opposed Mugabe’s rule. On Saturday, thousands of Zimbabweans celebrated Mugabe’s downfall in the streets of Harare.