Zimbabwe President Mugabe Resigns, Says Parliament Speaker

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Robert Mugabe. Photo: Wikimedia commons

President Robert Mugabe has resigned as President of Zimbabwe according to a statement read by the Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda.

There are reports of celebration in the streets of Harare, the capital. Mugabe has led Zimbabwe since 1980, first as prime minister after his party ZANU-PF won elections following the defeat of Ian Smith's white minority apartheid regime in what was then Rhodesia.

Mugabe's resignation follows his dismissal of vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was reported in a power struggle with Mrs. Grace Mugabe who wanted him out so she could become vice president and next in line.

But after Mnangagwa's ouster, the armed forces and the war veterans lined up behind him, leading to the military intervention last week on Monday and Wednesday.

Even though Mugabe presided over a graduation last Friday, he had been stripped of authority and the generals who led the intervention, including army commander Constantine Chiwenga, seemed to go out of their way not to humiliate a national hero who was pivotal in deposing white-minority rule in Zimbabwe.

During the Smith era, whites, who made up less than 1% of the population controlled about 70% of the arable farmland. When the British and U.S. governments reneged on commitments to provide money so the Mugabe government could purchase the land for redistribution to Africans, Zimbabwe's war veterans started occupying the farmlands.

The Mugabe government supported the war veterans, leading to the land redistribution, and fraying relations between Britain and the U.S., who then led the imposition of Western sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2003.
 

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