*God removed him after 37 years in office
*This is our second liberation
Robert Mugabe, who had ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 and once proclaimed that “only God will remove me,” resigned as president on Tuesday shortly after lawmakers began impeachment proceedings against him.
The speaker of the Parliament, Jacob Mudenda, read out a letter in which Mr. Mugabe said he was stepping down “with immediate effect” for “the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and the need for a peaceful transfer of power.” Parliament acted the place of God in the drama and removed him from office.
Lawmakers erupted into wild cheers and jubilant residents poured out like bee at war into the streets of Harare, the capital. It seemed to be an abrupt capitulation by Mr. Mugabe, 93, the world’s oldest head of state and one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders.
“It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to Zimbabwe,” Perseverance Sande, 20, said in central Harare minutes after news of the resignation began spreading, as crowds of people started singing around her. “I’ve been waiting so long for this moment.”
Expelled from ZANU-PF: Mr. Mugabe, who controlled the nation by handing out the spoils of power to his allies and crushing dissent, had refused to step down even after being expelled on Sunday from ZANU-PF, the political party he had led for four decades.
Then on Tuesday, party members introduced a motion of impeachment, invoking a constitutional process that had never before been tested.
The party’s political rival, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), seconded the motion, a striking sign of the consensus in the political class that Mr. Mugabe must go — one that formed with astonishing speed after the military took Mugabe into custody last Wednesday.
Resignation letter came in to avoid impeachment: Lawmakers were still discussing the impeachment motion when Mr. Mugabe’s justice minister, Happyton Bonyongwe, walked up to the stage. He was booed, because of a rumour that he had been offering bribes to sway votes against impeachment. Then he whispered into the ear of Mr. Mudenda, the speaker and handed him a letter.
Calling the lawmakers to order, the speaker announced that he had received an urgent communication from the president. As the crowd grew quiet, Mr. Mudenda — with a wide smile across his face — read out the letter.
Lawmakers immediately screamed and shouted. Once-bitter rivals from ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change shook hands and hugged.
Even Mr. Mugabe’s closest allies appeared taken aback. Reached by telephone, George Charamba, the president’s longtime spokesman, declined to comment, saying only, “I’m concerned about the stability of my country.”
Africa Unity Square became home for the people: In the Africa Unity Square, the capital’s main public area, scattered shouts were heard a few minutes after the announcement by the speaker. Then, as word began spreading by mouth and by phone, the shouts, cries and honking of cars rose in a deafening crescendo. Hundreds of people ran to the square, hugging and jumping, as the crowd soon swelled into the thousands with swelling number of human heads forming a sea.
Bob resigned at last: “I’m happy,” said Presca Nzendora, 32, a street vendor who was hugging a friend, jumping up and down. “Bob has resigned! We were starving because of him.”
Bryan Moyo, 30, who works in internet security, ran into the middle of the square in his dark suit and red tie. “37 years is not a joke,” he said. “He’s the only president I’ve ever known. It’s indescribable. It’s been hell. I feel like we’ve been liberated a second time.”
Nicholas Nyamaka, a 65-year-old taxi driver, said: “I used to think it would never come. It’s a dream come true. So finally the suffering is over.”
Crocodile takes over from Bob: The state broadcaster interrupted its programming to report that Mr. Mugabe had resigned and that a new leader could be sworn in as early as Wednesday. Emmerson Mnangagwa, the vice president whom Mr. Mugabe abruptly fired last week, setting off an internal revolt, is widely expected to lead the country, at least until national elections scheduled for next year.
According to sources, the people of Zimbabwe are replacing Robert Mugabe with his chief enforcer, the murderer of 10k-20k (possibly 30k) Ndebele people during the Matabeleleand Massacre, an extremist known as the Crocodile.
For nearly four decades, Mr. Mugabe ruled through a heavy mix of repression of his opponents and rewards for his allies. He oversaw the massacre of thousands of civilians in the 1980s and outmaneuvered rivals in his party and in the opposition. Even in his 90s and weakened by age, he kept potential successors at bay.
Grace, the Delilah of Bob: Mr Mugabe pushed too hard by trying to position his wife, Grace, 52, as his successor. Despite being a newcomer to politics who had no role in the nation’s liberation war, she made clear that she wanted to be president and ridiculed politicians who had been waiting decades to succeed her husband.
The chain of events leading to Mr. Mugabe’s downfall started on 6th November, when he fired Mr. Mnangagwa, clearing the way for Mrs. Mugabe to take over the presidency at some point. Mr. Mugabe then tried to arrest the nation’s top military commander a few days later.
Beginning of the end: After the military took Mr. Mugabe into custody, ZANU-PF expelled him as its leader on Sunday. But Mr. Mugabe stunned the nation that evening with a televised address in which he refused to step down as president. Pressure from within the country and from abroad had been building on Mr. Mugabe to resign, but observers had warned that the country might have to brace itself for lengthy impeachment proceedings.
The motion of impeachment introduced on Tuesday alleged, among other things, that Mr. Mugabe had violated the Constitution; that he had allowed his wife to usurp power; and that he was too old to fulfill his duties.
Earlier on Tuesday, Mr. Mnangagwa, whose firing led to the military intervention, broke his silence, urging the embattled leader to step down. “He should take heed of this clarion call by the people of Zimbabwe to resign so that the country can move forward and preserve his legacy,” Mr. Mnangagwa said.
Can the Croc be trusted too?: Mr. Mnangagwa’s role as the likely successor to Mr. Mugabe has raised many concerns. He was accused of orchestrating the crackdown in the 1980s in which thousands of members of the Ndebele ethnic group were killed. He was also accused of being behind deadly violence in 2008 a bid to rig polls in favour of Mr. Mugabe, a claim he denies.
At least a semblance of legitimacy — especially for a government under Mr. Mnangagwa, who is known as the enforcer of some of Mr. Mugabe’s most ruthless policies — will be critical in gaining recognition from regional powers, Western governments and international lenders. Zimbabwe, which no longer has its own currency and perennially struggles to pay government workers, became a pariah in the West after the state-backed invasion of white-owned farms in the early 2000s.