Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has submitted his resignation after nearly four decades as the country’s leader.
Mugabe defied demands to step down for almost a week after a military takeover and expulsion from his own ruling ZANU-PF party but stepped down on Tuesday, hours after parliament started an impeachment process.
Cheers broke out in the parliament after speaker Jacob Mudenda read out Mugabe’s resignation letter.
“I Robert Gabriel Mugabe in terms of section 96 of the constitution of Zimbabwe hereby formally tender my resignation … with immediate effect,” said Mudenda, reading the letter.
The news also sparked scenes of jubilation in the capital, Harare, as people took to the streets to celebrate Mugabe’s removal.
“People are coming out onto the streets, people are calling this day Independence Day,” Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from Harare, said.
“It’s getting chaotic,” she added. “Some people still can’t believe this has happened. People say they are really excited and hoping for a better future.”
Mugabe’s resignation terminated to the impeachment proceedings initiated by ZANU-PF after its Central Committee voted to dismiss him as party leader.
Mugabe, 93, led Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.
In a surprise move, Zimbabwe’s armed forces seized power on November 15 and placed Mugabe under house arrest.
The military takeover was triggered by Mugabe’s decision on November 6 to sack Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had been First Lady Grace Mugabe’s main opponent to succeed the veteran leader.
In a rare sign of solidarity between the people and the army, which has often been a pillar of support for Mugabe’s near 40-year rule, tens of thousands of Zimbabweans on Saturday expressed support and praise for the military’s operation.