Zimbabwe’s recently fired vice president is set to return to be sworn in as the country’s new leader after Robert Mugabe announced his resignation in the middle of impeachment proceedings against him.
Zimbabweans erupted in response on Tuesday, cheering and dancing in the streets late into the night, thrilled to be rid of a leader whose early promise after the end of white minority rule in 1980 was overtaken by economic collapse, government dysfunction and human rights violations.Now the focus turns to Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mr Mugabe’s long-time deputy who was pushed aside earlier this month as unpopular first lady Grace Mugabe positioned herself to replace him and succeed her husband.
Mr Mnangagwa fled the country, claiming to have received threats on his life.
That led the military to step in a week ago, opening the door for the ruling party and the people to publicly turn against the president.
It is not clear what 93-year-old Mugabe and his wife will do next. Mr Mugabe, who was the world’s oldest head of state, said in his resignation letter that legal procedures should be followed to install a new president “no later than tomorrow”.
The speaker of parliament is expected to speak to reporters on the way forward.