Robert Mugabe leaves power, a thoroughly disgraced old man
Mugabe has resigned as president, leaving Zimbabwe worse than he met it. But the people are excited to see his back.
He was going to be kicked out, anyway, if he refused to leave.
Mugabe had earlier called for a cabinet meeting which was shunned by ministers. He leaves power with no one by his side.
The Speaker of the country's parliament read Mugabe's resignation letter before cheering lawmakers, Tuesday.
Mugabe's resignation comes six days after the military seized power and confined the 93-year-old Mugabe to his 'Blue House' exotic home.
Talks have been going on between the autocrat and the military; and Zimbabweans have hit the streets since the military take-over, holding aloft placards with the inscriptions 'Go, Mugabe, Go".
And gone he has.
This has to go down as the strangest coup in the history of mankind--one in which the military first said it wasn't after Mugabe but "the criminals around him". And then soldiers were photographed smiling with Mugabe in his home the entire time.
But now the military has shoved Mugabe aside as Zimbabwe begins to count its losses on Mugabe's watch.
Yet Mugabe was once regardedas a liberation herowho fought colonialists by seizing farmlands from whites and handing them over to blacks.
As the years wore on, the real Robert Mugabe began to unravel.
The economy went into a tailspin, Zimbabwe had no currency of its own, jobs disappeared amid one of the highest literacy levels in Africa and Mugabe made sure his country remained in his vice grip.
At one point, Mugabe famously said he would only relinquish power "when God says come".
It's been a dizzying past couple of days for Zimbabweans. A moment in their history they thought would never arrive. Most Zimbabweans have known no other leader since the country attained independence from Britain in 1980.
Yet as both young and old took to the streets, dismantling billboards with Mugabe's face on them, high-fiving and taking selfies with soldiers and chanting anti-Mugabe songs--something they have never done or they never thought they could do in 37 years--they knew their redemption was here.
Sack of the crocodile
The final straw arrived when Emmerson Mnangagwa (nicknamed 'Crocodile') who has been Mugabe's right hand man and who has been Vice President since 2014, was unceremoniously fired in a move seen as being calculated to clear a pathway for Grace Mugabe to succeed her husband as president.
A Mugabe dynasty was something the soldiers and the rest of the country were not going to approve of.
The president's wife who is famously known as 'Gucci Grace' for her lavish and opulent lifestyle , made it known she wanted to become president someday, sparking a succession battle within the ZANU-PF ruling party and fracturing the party along three broad lines.
On November 13, 2017 army chief Constantino Chiwenga warned that the military may well intervene if ZANU-PF doesn't stop the purge of its members in the wake of the Vice President's sack.
"The current purging which is clearly targeting members of the party with a liberation background must stop forthwith," Chiwenga blared during a press briefing.
He added that; "We must remind those behind the current treacherous shenanigans that when it comes to matters of protecting our revolution, the military will not hesitate to step in."
A coup that wasn't a coup
On Wednesday, November 15, the military made good its threat by stepping in.
The army said its action wasn't a takeover but an intervention aimed at flushing out the criminals within the government.
"We wish to assure the nation that his excellency the president... and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed," read Major General Sibusiso Moyo, slowly.
"We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes... As soon as we have accomplished our mission we expect that the situation will return to normalcy."
Mugabe was placed under house arrest as pressure mounted on him to resign.
But he wouldn't.
On Sunday, November 19, 2017, ZANU-PF sacked Mugabe, paving the way for his resignation as quietly and peacefully as possible.
Yet, when Mugabe appeared before television cameras hours later, he rambled on and maintained his stranglehold on power. He even said he was going to preside over the ruling party's congress in December.
Here was a man so defiant, he still couldn't tell what time of day it was.
Zimbabweans who had been clamouring for Mugabe's exit on the streets and outside government buildings after the military takeover, were left dejected and flustered in the wake of Mugabe's speech.
However, they vowed to carry on with protests sanctioned by war veterans and the military.
"This man will go to the grave with Zimbabwe in his pouch", one protester was quoted as saying by the international media.
However, a few others belted out more upbeat tones.
"We've waited for 37 years, we will do whatever it takes to make sure that he goes. So one more day or one more week is not going to make a difference,"Evan Mawarire, a pastor and activist, who described the moves to oust Mugabe as an exciting moment not to be missed, told CNN.
"The fact is this -- the military has spoken, the people have spoken, parliament has spoken, his own party has spoken. So, there's nothing left, he's all by himself."
Axed Vice President Mnangagwa, who is in his '70s, will likely replace the fallen and disgraced Mugabe.
"My desire is to join all Zimbabweans in a new era where corruption, incompetency, dereliction of duty and laziness, social and cultural decadency is not tolerated," Mnangagwa said from exile.
He had fled the country after Mugabe sacked him, fearing for his life.
After Mugabe was placed under house arrest, Mnangagwa said he would only return to Zimbabwe if assured of his safety and security.
Yet the new man is being viewed with suspicion after carving a reputation as Mugabe's right hand man for decades.
He's even been accused of genocide.
Mnangagwa was minister of interior in the 1980s when the Gukurahundi massacres occurred.
The Gukurahundi massacres reportedly claimed the lives of some 20,000 Ndebele people in Western Zimbabwe.
Soldiers were responsible and Mnangagwa was believed to have drawn out the elaborate plan for the crackdown following orders from Mugabe.
"We might be replacing a snake with another snake, that much ... we know," one student protester told CNN.
However, Zimbabweans who have been groaning under the iron-fisted rule of Zimbabwe and endured his economic mis-steps, should be forgiven for looking forward to another snake that isn't named Mugabe, taking over the running of their country.
"For us who were born after the liberation struggle, this is our independence because we were born in oppression under Robert Mugabe and we've never seen how independence is like, how freedom is like...this is my independence...", one Zimbabwean said in an emotion laden voice.
For now, there's plenty of dancing, waving of flags, hooting and celebration on the streets of Harare and elsewhere in Zimbabwe.
As the Speaker read Mugabe's resignation letter, applause from lawmakers rang round parliament and thousands cheered outside.
The Mugabe Zimbabweans saw for 37 years, they would see no more.
This isn't the end of an era; as much as it's the end of an error.
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