Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has resigned, parliament speaker Jacob Mudenda says. The surprise announcement came as lawmakers debated an impeachment motion against the 93-year-old leader in a joint sitting of parliament.
Mr Mugabe had previously refused to resign despite last week’s military takeover, and days of protests against his rule.
He has been in power since independence in 1980.
Earlier Tuesday, Zimbabwe’s ruling party began impeachment proceedings against Mugabe, after the 93-year-old leader — the oldest in the world — ignored a deadline to resign after 37 years in power.
Crowds danced and sang outside the country’s Parliament, while some placed photos of Mugabe in the street so that cars would run over them.
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party said the culture of the ruling party “must end” and everyone must put their heads together and work toward free and fair elections.
ZANU-PF dismissed Mugabe as its leader Sunday and told him he must quit the presidency by noon local time Monday. He failed to do so.
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Mugabe and his wife Grace were put under house arrest a week ago by the army, which also took over the state broadcaster and the airport in the capital, Harare.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose firing as vice president by Mugabe two weeks ago was the catalyst for the army’s takeover, said in a statement Tuesday that Mugabe “must now ACCEPT the will of the people and resign.”
“I can confirm that President Robert Gabriel Mugabe made contact with me and invited me to return home for a discussion on the current political events in the nation,” said Mnangagwa, who fled to South Africa soon after he was dismissed, in his statement. Sources: BBC and USA Today