AS IT HAPPENED: Britain offers help for Zimbabwe after Mugabe 'oppression'

2017-11-21 17:30

Zimbabwe is celebrating after President Robert Mugabe has resigned after 37 years as head of state on Tuesday.

AS IT HAPPENED: Zuma heads to #Zimbabwe as calls mount for Mugabe to quit
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Last Updated at 21:10
21 Nov 23:20

Cautious hope for Zimbabwe's future as Mugabe quits

The resignation of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was greeted by hopes of better times for the nation's people, in early reactions from the international community on Tuesday.

No one voiced regret at his removal.

Below are some of the comments made after the 93-year-old African leader stood down. 

Britain

The former colonial ruler greeted news of Mugabe's departure with an offer of support as "Zimbabwe's oldest friend".

Prime Minister Theresa May said: "The resignation of Robert Mugabe provides Zimbabwe with an opportunity to forge a new path free of the oppression that characterised his rule."

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: "I will not pretend to regret Mugabe’s downfall: but this can now be a turning point, a moment of hope for this beautiful country, full of potential."

United States

The United States had been calling on all sides to show restraint.A

US State Department spokeswoman called it "a historic opportunity, a historic moment for the people of Zimbabwe... to put an end to Zimbabwe isolation" adding that "the future of Zimbabwe will have to be decided by the people of Zimbabwe".

The US embassy in Harare said: "Whatever short-term arrangements the government may establish, the path forward must lead to free, fair and inclusive elections."

France

France called for a peaceful transfer of power.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said: "We welcome this decision (by Mugabe) which must open the way for a peaceful political transition, respecting the legitimate aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe."               

Zimbabwe opposition

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party had been seeking cooperation with other groups to ensure the necessary votes to impeach Mugabe.

MDC chief whip Innocent Gonese said: "The man had run out of options. The writing was on the wall... He was in a state of denial."

- AFP



21 Nov 22:56

What now after Mugabe resignation?

Robert Mugabe shocked Zimbabwe and the world when he resigned as president on Tuesday, ending his 37-year grip on power.

It also plunged the nation into uncertainty, raising institutional questions over succession although the military will likely retain power for now.

Speaking to AFP, Derek Matyszak, an analyst at the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies, outlined what he expected to happen next:

What now?

"I think we're going to see (ousted vice president) Emmerson Mnangagwa sworn in very quickly... As far as I understand (second vice president Mphoko Phelekezela) is not in the country right now. The cabinet should meet if there's no president or vice president and appoint one," he said.

The current crisis was triggered by a dispute over who would succeed Mugabe, and in his resignation letter, the 93-year-old president did not suggest who would succeed him. 

Whoever takes over will only be there for "an interim period" he said, noting that Mugabe's ZANU-PF had already chosen Mnangagwa as their replacement leader to stand in elections slated for 2018. 

"The acting president is only supposed to be there for an interim period, while they wait for (the ruling) ZANU-PF to nominate a replacement for Mugabe - but they have already nominated Mnangagwa as their choice for elections in 2018."

What of the opposition?

"What the opposition should be doing is to use this moment to try and mobilise and lobby for the introduction of a more democratic dispensation," said Matyszak. 

In his first remarks since the military takeover, Mnangagwa had on Tuesday appeared to make overtures to the opposition, he said.

"Mnangagwa's statement did mention that he is prepared to reach out to the opposition."

And the economy?

"The new leader needs to present a friendly face to the international community. The country is on the brink of an economic meltdown. If that meltdown occurs, the military won't get paid and you will have a possibility of another coup," said Matyszak.

"A lot needs to be done and done very quickly."

Was Mugabe's resignation expected?

"Mugabe might have been hoping that the impeachment process would not succeed, that it might stumble in getting the numbers together. "But I think when he saw the turnout (of lawmakers) he probably realised he'd better jump before he was pushed," said Matyszak.

- AFP


21 Nov 21:34

21 Nov 21:33

21 Nov 21:33

21 Nov 20:58

Britain offers help for Zimbabwe after Mugabe 'oppression'

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Robert Mugabe's resignation on Tuesday gave Zimbabwe "an opportunity to forge a new path free of the oppression that characterised his rule," and declared Britain stood ready to help.

"In recent days we have seen the desire of the Zimbabwean people for free and fair elections and the opportunity to rebuild the country’s economy under a legitimate government," she said in a statement.

"As Zimbabwe's oldest friend we will do all we can to support this, working with our international and regional partners to help the country achieve the brighter future it so deserves."

Mugabe, who had led Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, resigned as president on Tuesday as parliament began impeachment proceedings after a military takeover.

Welcoming his decision, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson added to May's call for free and fair elections.

"I will not pretend to regret Mugabe’s downfall:  but this can now be a turning point, a moment of hope for this beautiful country, full of potential," he said. 

"The immediate priority is to ensure that Zimbabwe has a legitimate government, appointed through free and fair elections in accordance with the constitution."

Johnson pledged that Britain stood "ready to support Zimbabwe in this goal.

"Last week, he also expressed hope for change in the country, but warned that "nobody wants simply to see the transition from one unelected tyrant to the next".

- AFP


21 Nov 20:55

Mugabe leaves behind an economy in tatters

Zimbabwe army chief General Constantino Chiwenga called Tuesday for "maximum restraint" and law and order to be upheld after Robert Mugabe's resignation sparked wild celebrations and plunged the country into uncertainty.

"Against the backdrop of the latest developments in our country, your defence and security services would want to appeal to all Zimbabweans across the political divide to exercise maximum restraint and observe law and order to the fullest," Chiwenga said at a press briefing.


21 Nov 20:52

Zimbabwe army chief calls for public 'restraint' after Mugabe quits

Zimbabwe army chief General Constantino Chiwenga called Tuesday for "maximum restraint" and law and order to be upheld after Robert Mugabe's resignation sparked wild celebrations and plunged the country into uncertainty.

"Against the backdrop of the latest developments in our country, your defence and security services would want to appeal to all Zimbabweans across the political divide to exercise maximum restraint and observe law and order to the fullest," Chiwenga said at a press briefing.

- AFP


21 Nov 20:32

21 Nov 20:23

'Isolated Mugabe had no choice' - analyst

A politically isolated President Robert Mugabe would have had no choice but to resign after thousands of Zimbabweans took to the streets on Tuesday to call for his resignation.

Prof Brian Raftopoulos, leading South African researcher on Zimbabwe from the Solidarity Peace Trust, said Mugabe's decision to step down may have been the result of a SADC meeting that took place earlier on Tuesday.


21 Nov 20:19

‘This is a new beginning’ - Zimbabweans on Mugabe's ousting

Zimbabweans on Tuesday said the resignation of Robert Mugabe was a promising step in rebuilding the country and their lives.

Ecstatic citizens took to the streets to celebrate, chanting "rest in peace" and shouting "it’s a new Zimbabwe", after the speaker of Parliament confirmed that Mugabe, 93, had resigned after nearly four decades in power.


21 Nov 20:18

SA opposition parties welcomes Mugabe's resignation

South African opposition parties on Tuesday evening welcomed the resignation of Robert Mugabe as Zimbabwean president.

Hailing the resignation as a victory for the Zimbabwean people, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane lamented that Mugabe's Zanu-PF party remained in power.


21 Nov 20:16

Zimbabwe's first lady, Grace Mugabe, in key dates

Here are some key dates in the life of Grace Mugabe, wife of resigned president Robert Mugabe, whose ambitions to succeed him largely led to a military takeover.

July 23, 1965: Grace Marufu is born in South Africa.

1996: Aged 31, she marries Robert Mugabe, 72, for whom she had been working as a secretary and having an affair. The couple already have two children.

2002: She is included in an EU asset freeze and visa ban against members of Zimbabwe's political and military elite. The United States also imposes a visa ban.

2009: Grace Mugabe allegedly assaults a British journalist trying to photograph her leaving a Hong Kong hotel. She is granted diplomatic immunity from prosecution.

2010: Wikileaks releases a US diplomatic cable from 2008 that says that she is among Zimbabwean elites who gained millions of US dollars from illegal diamond mines. She sues the local The Standard newspaper for publishing the story.

September 2014: She is awarded a doctorate just months after enrolling at university, sparking student protests.

December 2014: Grace Mugabe is appointed president of the ruling ZANU-PF party's powerful Women's League and a member of its central committee, placing her high among the contenders to succeed her husband.

August 2017: She is accused of beating a model at a South African hotel with an extension cord. The South African government grants her diplomatic immunity from prosecution.-

November 2017: Robert Mugabe fires vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, a move seen as intended to open the way for his wife's succession.

A few days later the military takes control of the country, leading to Mugabe's resignation on November 21.

- AFP


21 Nov 20:02

21 Nov 20:01

A surprise tweet - and Mugabe was gone

It probably was Saviour Kasukuwere, the ousted former Zimbabwe minister and political commissar in former president Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party who broke the news of Mugabe’s resignation.

His tweet at 17:16 on Tuesday was simple, but telling.


21 Nov 19:55
WATCH: People stepping on Mugabe portrait

21 Nov 19:53

21 Nov 19:46
WATCH LIVE: Zimbabweans celebrate Mugabe's resignation 

21 Nov 19:44

21 Nov 19:24

Mnangagwa: Zimbabwe's 'Comeback Crocodile' now poised for top job

After Robert Mugabe's resignation as president of Zimbabwe, his former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose sacking led to the autocrat's downfall, seems likely to be the next head of state. 

On Sunday, Mnangagwa was named president of the ruling ZANU-PF party in place of Mugabe.That put him one step away from the top job as Mugabe was told to quit or be forced from office.

Nicknamed "Ngwena" (The Crocodile) because of his fearsome power and ruthlessness, the 75-year-old Mnangagwa had appeared to have been outfoxed by Mugabe's wife, Grace.

The first lady, who is 41 years younger than her husband, lobbied the veteran head of state to ditch his vice president, a long-serving lieutenant, to further her own political ambitions.

But Mnangagwa has close ties with the military, which was alarmed at Grace's rise, and the generals intervened.

It was the climax of a long feud between Grace and Mugabe's deputy to be in pole position to replace the ailing leader when he died or retired.Mnangagwa - a long-time party loyalist and hardliner who, say some, could prove as authoritarian as Mugabe - initially fled to South Africa after his sacking.

But the dramatic seizure of power by the military returned him to centre-stage.In the early days after independence from Britain in 1980, Mugabe made Mnangagwa, who was then a young trainee lawyer, minister for national security. 

Mnangagwa thereafter occupied a host of cabinet positions - but relations between him and his political mentor were not always cosy, and the younger man was no stranger to presidential purges. 

In 2004 he lost his post as the secretary for administration in the party after being accused of openly angling for the post of vice president.

Political comeback

The 2008 elections, when he was made Mugabe's chief election agent, changed Mnangagwa's fortunes.

Mugabe lost the first round vote, and Mnangagwa allegedly supervised the wave of violence and intimidation that forced the opposition to pull out of the run-off vote.

In the same year Mnangagwa took over as head of the Joint Operations Command, a committee of security chiefs which had been accused by rights groups of organising violent campaigns to crush dissent.

He was targeted by EU and US sanctions imposed on Mugabe and his close allies over the elections and ensuing violence, but was promptly handed control of the powerful defence ministry.

Born in the southwestern Zvishavane district on September 15, 1942, Mnangagwa completed his early education in Zimbabwe before his family relocated to neighbouring Zambia.

His grandfather was a traditional leader and his father a political agitator for the repeal of colonial laws that disadvantaged blacks.

In 1966, Mnangagwa joined the struggle for independence from Britain, becoming one of the young combatants who helped direct the war after undergoing training in China and Egypt.

He was arrested and sentenced to death but his sentence was later commuted to 10 years in prison because of his young age.

After independence in 1980, he directed a brutal crackdown on opposition supporters that claimed thousands of lives in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

The Gukurahundi massacres remain the biggest scar on his reputation among many Zimbabweans.

He once remarked that he had been taught to "destroy and kill" - although he later claimed to be a born-again Christian. 

- AFP


21 Nov 19:22

Rand cheers Mugabe ouster, still eyes rates, downgrade moves 

The rand dipped below R14/$ on the news that Robert Mugabe has resigned as president via a letter provided to the speaker of Zimbabwe's parliament.

"The rand reacted positively trading to 13.98 on the news as it's used as a proxy for our neighbouring country," said TreasuryOne currency dealer Wichard Cilliers.

The resignation comes amid political turmoil and an impending impeachment.


21 Nov 19:15

PROFILE: Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe

Following a week long political stand-off, Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has  resigned after nearly four decades in power and fears of an attempted coup, which was denied by the military, against his government. 

Zimbabwe's army seized the headquarters of the state broadcaster ZBC in the capital Harare and blocked off access to government offices early on Wednesday last week.


21 Nov 19:11

21 Nov 19:08

21 Nov 19:07

African leaders driven from power

Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, who resigned on Tuesday, is the latest in a long list of African leaders forced from power by coups, rebels and popular uprisings since 2010.Aged 93, Mugabe stepped down days after a military takeover and following unprecedented demonstrations against his rule.

2010

NIGER: On February 18 president Mamadou Tandja is overthrown in a military coup after changing the constitution in order to remain in power beyond two terms. He had been voted into office in 1999.

2011 

TUNISIA: After 23 years in power, and under massive popular pressure, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali flees to Saudi Arabia with his family on January 14.-

EGYPT: Hosni Mubarak resigns on February 11, after widespread protests, ending his 30-year reign and handing power to the army.

IVORY COAST: On April 11 Laurent Gbagbo, in power since a controversial 2000 election, is arrested after more than four-months of crisis caused by his refusal to recognise the victory of Alassane Ouattara in the 2010 presidential election.

LIBYA: Dictator Moamer Kadhafi is captured and killed on October 20 after nearly 42 years in power, nine months after NATO-backed rebels rose up against his regime.

2012

MALI: Mutinous soldiers overthrow the Bamako government and detain president Amadou Toumani Toure on March 22, precipitating the fall of the north to Islamist rebels allied with Al-Qaeda.

GUINEA BISSAU: A coup takes place on April 12 between two rounds of a presidential poll with troops ousting president Raimundo Pereira and the former prime minister.

2013

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Ten years after seizing power, General Francois Bozize flees on March 24 when rebels from the Muslim-dominated group Seleka seize the presidential palace, unleashing a bloody conflict with mainly Christian militias.

EGYPT: On July 3 the military ousts Egypt's first democratically elected leader, the Islamist Mohamed Morsi, after large demonstrations against his one-year rule.

2014

BURKINA FASO: President Blaise Compaore, who came to power in a 1987 coup, flees the country on October 31 after being ousted in a revolt sparked by his efforts to extend his 27-year hold on power. Less than a year later, interim president Michel Kafando will be overthrown, but then reinstated a week later.

2017

GAMBIA: Yahya Jammeh, who came to power in a coup in 1994, leaves the country on January 21, handing power to Adama Barrow, winner of December 2016 elections. He acts under the threat of military intervention by troops from neighbouring nations.

- AFP


21 Nov 19:01

21 Nov 18:52

Zimbabwe has chance of future 'free of oppression' - UK

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the resignation of president RobertMugabe on Tuesday gave Zimbabwe "an opportunity to forge a new path free of the oppression that characterised his rule".

"In recent days we have seen the desire of the Zimbabwean people for free and fair elections and the opportunity to rebuild the country’s economy under a legitimate government," she said in a statement."

As Zimbabwe's oldest friend we will do all we can to support this, working with our international and regional partners to help the country achieve the brighter future it so deserves.

"Mugabe, who had led Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, resigned as president on Tuesday as parliament began impeachment proceedings in the wake of a military takeover.Last week, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson expressed hope for change in Zimbabwe but warned that "nobody wants simply to see the transition from one unelected tyrant to the next".

- AFP


21 Nov 18:50

Pendulum of history swings against Mugabe

Thirty-seven years ago, Robert Mugabe was feted as a titan who had won Africa's last great war against colonialism.

Today, in the twilight of his life, Mugabe finds himself loathed by millions of his citizens for a rule tarnished by despotism, cronyism, corruption and economic ruin.


21 Nov 18:45

21 Nov 18:44

21 Nov 18:44

21 Nov 18:40

Zimbabwe: From military takeover to Mugabe's exit

Here is a timeline of the political crisis in Zimbabwe where veteran President Robert Mugabe resigned on Tuesday following a military takeover and unprecedented mass protests demanding he step down.

Army takes control

November 14: Tanks are seen moving on the outskirts of the capital Harare a day after army chief Constantino Chiwenga denounces Mugabe's sacking of vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa on November 6.

Mnangagwa is seen as a rival of Mugabe's wife Grace, 52, to succeed the veteran 93-year-old leader.Later, heavy gunfire is heard near Mugabe's residence in Harare.

Mugabe under house arrest

November 15: By the early hours, military vehicles are on the capital's streets, but the army denies staging a coup, giving a televised address saying Mugabe is safe and that they are "only targeting criminals around him".

South Africa says Mugabe has told its president, Jacob Zuma, by telephone that he is under house arrest but is "fine".

The European Union and former colonial power Britain urge a peaceful resolution of the crisis while South Africa warns against any "unconstitutional changes" of government.

Mugabe refuses to resign

November 16: Mugabe refuses to step down during talks with generals, a source close to the army leadership says in a move which enrages many Zimbabweans who see it as a bid to "buy time" to negotiate a favourable end to his 37-year reign.

A day later he appears at a university graduation ceremony, acting as if nothing has happened.

Opposition grows

November 17: Eight out of the 10 branches of Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF taking to state television to demand he stand down, in a call echoed by the influential war veterans association, which urges people to join huge street protests at the weekend. 

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the people of Zimbabwe must choose their own government through elections.

Mass protests

November 18: Tens of thousands of people flood Zimbabwe's streets demanding Mugabe's resignation in a joyful celebration of his apparently imminent demise.

The display of open defiance would have been unthinkable just a week earlier.

Mugabe hangs on

November 19: ZANU-PF sacks Mugabe as leader and demands he resign as head of state. It also expels his wife Grace and names the ousted Mnangagwa as the new party chief.

The ruling party also says Mugabe must resign as president by midday Monday, or face impeachment.But in a live televised address, Mugabe defies expectations he will resign, instead saying he will preside over ZANU-PF's congress in December.

Parliament starts impeachment 

November 21: After the deadline passes without Mugabe resigning, Zimbabwe's parliament gathers to start the impeachment process, with lawmakers from across the spectrum calling on the president to quit. 

Mnangagwa, the country's likely next president, calls for Mugabe to stand down in his first intervention since the army takeover, saying he should "heed this clarion call" so the country can move forward.

Mugabe resigns

As MPs gather for a special joint session of parliament, speaker Jacob Mudenda reads out a letter from Mugabe resigning as president after a 37-year rule with immediate effect. 

"My decision to resign is voluntary on my part. It arises from my concern for the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and my desire to ensure a smooth, peaceful and non-violent transfer of power that underpins national security, peace and stability."

The bombshell announcement sparks scenes of wild celebration in the streets of Harare, with car horns honking and crowds dancing and cheering over the departure of the autocrat who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence.

- AFP


21 Nov 18:36

Zimbabwe has chance of a future 'free of oppression' - Britain

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the resignation of Robert Mugabe on Tuesday gave Zimbabwe "an opportunity to forge a new path free of the oppression that characterised his rule".

She said Britain, the former colonial power, would do "all we can" to support "the desire of the Zimbabwean people for free and fair elections and the opportunity to rebuild the country's economy under a legitimate government".

- AFP


21 Nov 18:33

21 Nov 18:31

"We are just so happy that things are finally going to change," Togo Ndhlalambi, 32, a hairdresser, told AFP.

Mugabe had ruled Zimbabwe almost unopposed since the country won independence from Britain but his efforts to position his wife Grace as his successor triggered fury in the military that had underpinned his regime.

His grip on power was shattered last week when the armoured military vehicles took to the streets, blockaded parliament and soldiers placed the president under house arrest in an operation that had all the hallmarks of a coup.

But instead his generals stressed they were simply "arresting" criminals around Mugabe - a reference to supporters of Grace - and even allowed the one-time liberation hero to appear at a public function and deliver a TV speech stressing that he retained control.

- AFP


21 Nov 18:27

21 Nov 18:27
A group of ecstatic Zimbabweans chanting "rest in peace, rest in peace" outside the rainbow towers where the Parliamentarians met earlier

21 Nov 18:22

Mnangagwa to take over after 48 hours

A Zimbabwe ruling party official says that recently fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa will take over as the country's leader within 48 hours after President Robert Mugabe resigned.

Ruling party chief whip Lovemore Matuke says Mnangagwa, who fled the country after his firing, "is not far from here".

The official spoke to the AP immediately after the Parliament speaker announced Mugabe's immediate resignation during impeachment proceedings.Matuke says they look forward to Mugabe doing the handover of power "so that Mnangagwa moves with speed to work for the country".

- AP


21 Nov 18:20

21 Nov 18:17

Car horns and wild cheers in Harare as Mugabe resigns 

Car horns blared and cheering crowds raced through the streets of the Zimbabwean capital Harare Tuesday as news spread that President Robert Mugabe, 93, had resigned after 37 years in power.

"We are just so happy that things are finally going to change," Togo Ndhlalambi, 32, a hairdresser, told AFP.

"We woke up every morning waiting for this day. This country has been through tough times."

- AFP


21 Nov 18:14

21 Nov 18:13

"I Robert Gabriel Mugabe in terms of section 96 of the constitution of Zimbabwe hereby formally tender my resignation... with immediate effect," said speaker Mudenda, reading the letter.

Mugabe says he is resigning immediately and voluntarily in order to have a "smooth transfer of power" after 37 years in charge.

- AP


21 Nov 18:11
Zimbabweans celebrates Mugabe's resignation 

21 Nov 18:09

21 Nov 18:08

21 Nov 18:07

Robert Mugabe resigns: Zimbabwe parliament speaker

Robert Mugabe resigned as president of Zimbabwe on Tuesday, parliament speaker Jacob Mudenda announced, bringing the curtain down on a 37-year reign.

Mugabe was swept from power as his  autocratic rule crumbled within days of a military takeover.

"I Robert Gabriel Mugabe in terms of section 96 of the constitution of Zimbabwe hereby formally tender my resignation... with immediate effect," said speaker Mudenda, reading the letter.

The bombshell news was delivered to a special joint session of parliament.Lawmakers had convened to debate a motion to impeach Mugabe, who has dominated every aspect of Zimbabwean public life since independence in 1980.

It was greeted on the streets of the capital Harare with car horns and wild cheering.

- AFP


21 Nov 18:06

21 Nov 18:04

Zimbabwe's Parliament has erupted in cheers as the speaker announces the resignation of President Robert Mugabe.

The speaker stopped impeachment proceedings to say they had received a letter from Mugabe with the resignation "with immediate effect".

It is an extraordinary end for the world's oldest head of state after 37 years in power.

- AP



21 Nov 18:03

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