“Following my verbal communication with the speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda at 13h53, 21 November 2017, intimating my intention to resign as the president of Zimbabwe I, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, in terms of 96 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, hereby, formally tender my resignation as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe with immediate effect.”
This an extract of President Robert Mugabe’s letter of resignation read at special session of Parliament by Zimbabwean Parliamentary speaker, Jacob Mudenda. With these few words, Zimbabwe was transformed into emotional scenes of celebration.
The 93-year-old head of state clung to power for a week, after an army takeover and expulsion from the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), but resigned shortly after Parliament began an impeachment process on Tuesday
The former vice-president, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa set to succeed Mugabe. Mnangagwa’s sacking earlier this month, triggered a political crisis in Zimbabwe. The moved interpreted as an attempt by Mugabe to clear the way for his wife, Grace, to succeed him. The party says Mnangagwa will serve the remainder of Mugabe’s term until the next general elections, which must be held by September 2018.
Speaking to VOC News, Zimbabwean journalist and activist based in Bulawayo, Zenzele Ndebele, hopes Mnangagwa will focus on uniting Zimbabweans.
“I hope that he has had his Damascus moment and is going to really focus on rebuilding Zimbabwe and focus on bringing people together.”
Given tribal and racial divisions within the country, Ndebele says that Mnangagwa has a unique opportunity to “reset” the fractured nation.
Zimbabweans now await the transformation of its judicial system, with over 400 laws not having been aligned to the Constitution.
Ndebele adds that investors need to regain confidence in the Zimbabwean economy and reinvest.
“Zimbabwe’s former coloniser, Britain, is already talking about working with Zimbabwe and rebuilding and that is the message that people want.”
VOC News spoke to Zimbabweans who took to the streets in jubilation with renewed hope of a revitalised economy.
Sumaya Hassim says following the announcement of Mugabe’s resignation, the atmosphere in the country transformed.
“Everyone in Zimbabwe, we have this jubilation and positive energy is just flowing through us…Everyone is smiling.”
She says that Mugabe’s resignation represents hope for a better future.
Meanwhile, Muneer Walele described the scenes of excitement on the streets of Harare and like thousands of his fellow citizens joined in the merriment.
Posted by Muneer Walele on Tuesday, 21 November 2017
Walele says that while it appears that most people are overjoyed at hearing the news, he believes that certain individuals may be disappointed.
“There are a lot of corrupt people in our country and they were thriving off the situation.”
As Zimbabwean nationals living abroad share their thoughts on heading back home, Walele says that the Zimbabwean economy needs to prepare for the return of citizens.
Despite the ongoing celebrations, Zimbabweans now call for renewed economic development within the country, which suspended its currency indefinitely in 2009.
VOC News took to the streets of Cape Town and interviewed Zimbabwean nationals who shared their emotions about Mugabe’s decision to step down.
After a day of celebrations, VOC News spoke to Zimbabwean nationals working in the Cape Town CBD and heard their thoughts about President Robert Mugabe’s unexpected resignation on Tuesday. #Zimbabwe #Mugabe
Posted by Voice of the Cape Radio – VOC on Wednesday, 22 November 2017
As the oldest serving head of state in world, Mugabe led Zimbabwe since its independence in 1980, his tenure marred by decades of repression and the divestment of western nations. But, despite the aging ruler’s history, Zimbabweans now say they have renewed hope of a brighter future.