November 22, 2017
Zimbabwe’s incoming president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, returned to the country Wednesday after spending about two weeks in exile. His ascendance follows the resignation Tuesday of longtime President Robert Mugabe.
Zimbabwe’s parliament speaker said Mnangagwa would be sworn in as president on Friday. The former vice president abruptly fled the country November 6 after Mugabe fired him.
One man told VOA’s Zimbabwe service: “This is a breakthrough. … We are super excited as Zimbabweans and we want to thank God. Our prayers have been answered. We have suffered a lot for 37 years.”
John Campbell, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said because Mnangagwa played such a key role in Mugabe’s administration, he did not anticipate a dramatic change in the style of governance in the short term.
“Nevertheless, the fact that there has been a coup, the fact that Mugabe has resigned, opens the range of possibilities,” Campbell told VOA. “Whether or not the Zimbabwean people will take advantage of that, it is too soon to tell.”
Speaker Jacob Mudenda read out the resignation letter soon after lawmakers began proceedings to impeach Mugabe.
The letter said in part, “I, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, in terms of Section 96 of the constitution of Zimbabwe, hereby formally tender my resignation … with immediate effect.”
There has been no confirmation of the letter from the president or his office but no denial, either.
Mugabe, 93, had ruled Zimbabwe since the country won independence from Britain in 1980.
Until Tuesday, Mugabe had shown no sign of stepping aside. He even called a Cabinet meeting for Tuesday morning. According to the Reuters news agency, only a handful of the 17 ministers showed up.
Mugabe was planning to run for another term as president in next year’s elections. -Wide America