UPDATE: Finally, Mugabe Resigns

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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. It capped an unprecedented week in which the military seized control, tens of thousands of Zimbabwean citizens took to the streets to demand the president go and 93-year-old Mugabe wrestled to remain in power.

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.

President Robert Mugabe is facing his worst political situation in 37 years as the leader of Zimbabwe, as the two chambers of parliaments were due to begin impeachment proceedings against him on Tuesday.

This is the first time such move is taking place in the Southern African country. According to CNN, a joint sitting of the Senate and National Assembly is scheduled to begin today.

The ruling party, ZANU-PF, plans to table a motion that will begin the process of formally removing the president who has been clinging on to the presidency despite a military takeover last week.

ZANU-PF, which Mugabe co-founded and led for decades, ousted the 93-year-old leader as their party chief on Sunday and gave him an ultimatum to step down in 24 hours or face impeachment.

The former vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has joined those calling for Mugabe to stand down, in his first comments since the President fired him on November 6, triggering the political firestorm.

Mugabe called a cabinet meeting for Tuesday morning, but most members didn’t show up, state media reported, in a further indication that his authority was ebbing away. The party had set a deadline for midday Monday for Mugabe to resign or face impeachment.

The former vice president’s statement offered no clues about his location. Mnangagwa was named as ZANU-PF’s new party chief on Sunday, paving the way for him to contest the 2018 presidential elections.

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