- Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe resigns
- Wild jubilation among MPs as speaker tells parliament
- Comes one week after military coup
- Former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa 'to be sworn in'
- How Mugabe brought Zimbabwe's economy to its knees
- Who are Robert Mugabe's indulged children?
- Mugabe denied his people freedom and prosperity
- Robert Mugabe's fall is an opportunity for Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe resigned on Tuesday, bringing to an end 37 years in power which he began as a hero of the struggle against white rule and ended as the man blamed for reducing his country to despotism and economic misery.
The streets of Harare erupted in celebration after Mr Mugabe’s resignation was announced during a joint session of both houses of the Zimbabwean parliament that had gathered to launch impeachment proceedings on Tuesday afternoon.
"My decision to resign is voluntary on my part and arises from my concern for the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and my desire for a smooth, non-violent transfer of power," Mr Mugabe said in a letter read out by Jacob Mudenda, the speaker of parliament.
The move was cautiously welcomed by the West, with the UK and the US calling for a peaceful transition to democracy.
Boris Johnson yesterday hinted that Zimbabwe could rejoin the Commonwealth, from which its membership was suspended in 2002 over a disputed vote, if free and fair elections were held. Mr Johnson said Mr Mugabe had been "a despot who impoverished his country".
Mr Mugabe’s resignation letter made no mention of who should replace him as president.
However, he is widely expected to be succeeded by Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former security chief who fled to South Africa after Mr Mugabe fired him as vice president on November 6.
Zanu-PF, the ruling party, installed Mr Mnangagwa as party leader after ousting Mr Mugabe from the same role on Saturday. He could be sworn in as president by Thursday, the party's chief whip said.
Mr Mugabe’s resignation came a week after Zimbabwe’s military placed the 93-year old president under house arrest in a soft coup prompted by a power struggle within the ruling party involving Grace Mugabe, the first lady.
In a bid to preserve a veneer of legitimacy and avoid sanctions, the military and its allies in the ruling the Zanu PF party attempted to persuade Mr Mugabe to resign voluntarily by threatening to impeach him and mounting a massive public march in Harare to demonstrate he had lost public support.
The head of the Zimbabwean armed forces, who executed the coup, cautioned against retribution in the wake of Mr Mugabe's resignation.
"Acts of vengeful retribution or trying to settle scores will be dealt with severely," Gen. Constantino Chiwenga.
Mr Mugabe had initially refused to resign, and stunned Zimbabweans on Sunday night when he used a televised address, widely expected to be a resignation speech, to reassert his authority and announce he intended to preside over Zanu PF's December congress as usual.
He faced further humiliation on Tuesday after almost no ministers showed up to a routine cabinet meeting he called at State House, his official Harare office.
Later in the afternoon lawmakers from both houses of parliament gathered in a conference centre to debate a motion that called for him to be removed from power for shortcomings including falling asleep in meetings and allowing Mrs Mugabe to "usurp" presidential powers.
The motion, which was tabled by Zanu PF and seconded by the Movement for Democratic Change, the main opposition party, was abandoned after Mr Mugabe's resignation letter arrived in parliament.
Mr Mnangagwa had called on Mr Mugabe to heed the "insatiable" desire of the Zimbabwean public for change in a statement on Tuesday morning.
"The people of Zimbabwe have spoken with one voice and it is my appeal to President Mugabe that he should take heed of this clarion call and resign forthwith so that the country can move forward and preserve his legacy," Mr Mnangagwa said in his statement.
It was not immediately clear what Mr Mugabe or his wife Grace would do next. He was reported to have been trying to negotiate protections for himself and his family in the days since the coup.
Army calls for restraint
Zimbabwe army chief General Constantino Chiwenga has called 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," Mr Chiwenga said at a press briefing.
Mr Chiwenga also warned people not to target old adversaries following the resignation of Mr Mugabe. "Acts of vengeful retribution or trying to settle scores will be dealt with severely," he said.
The military have been largely welcomed onto the streets by protesters who see them as helping to facilitate Mr Mugabe's resignation.
May says Britain ready to help
Theresa May has said Britain is Zimbabwe's oldest friend and is here to help the former colony transition to a bright future.
Following on from Boris Johnson's comments, the prime minister said Robert Mugabe's resignation on Tuesday gave Zimbabwe "an opportunity to forge a new path free of the oppression that characterised his rule".
She added in a statement: "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.
"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."
Johnson hails 'moment of hope'
Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, repeated comments he made last week saying that the end of Mr Mugabe's reign appeared to be a "moment of hope" for the people of Zimbabwe.
He said in a Foreign and Commonwealth statement today: "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. The immediate priority is to ensure that Zimbabwe has a legitimate government, appointed through free and fair elections in accordance with the constitution.
“That’s what the UK wants to see and together, with our international friends and partners in the region, we stand ready to support Zimbabwe in this goal.”
New president to be sworn in 'within days'
Emmerson Mnangagwa, the former security chief who was sacked during a power struggle with Mr Mugabe's wife Grace, is expected to be sworn in as president on Wednesday or Thursday, Reuters have reported.
Zanu-PF's chief whip said Mr Mnangagwa - known as 'The Crocodile' - "will be in office within 48 hours" and serve the rest of Mr Mugabe's term until elections in 2018.
Q&A: What next for Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace?
Will they stay in Zimbabwe?
It seems unlikely. Some in Mr Mugabe’s party have said he could stay, while military and political figures have attempted to play down the appearance of a coup.
Nick Managwana, head of Zanu-PF in London, told The Daily Telegraph recently that Mr Mugabe would be welcome to remain, saying: “Zimbabweans are not a vengeful people”.
However, staying would leave Mr Mugabe open to criminal charges and the jubilation on the streets of Harare, the capital, yesterday suggested little empathy from the public.
An exile, either forced or self-imposed, is now expected.
Where could they go?
South Africa is the obvious destination, with the pair reportedly owning several properties in affluent suburbs in the country.
Their sons, Robert Junior and Chatunga, both known for their lavish party lifestyles, have been spending time there in recent months.
However doubt hangs over Mrs Mugabe’s legal standing in South Africa after she was alleged to have assaulted Gabrielle Engels, a 20-year-old Johannesburg woman.
Singapore is one option. Mr Mugabe, 93, has been a regular visitor for health treatment since first going for help with an eye problem in 2011.
Mr Mugabe’s daughter Bona also did her master’s management degree in Singapore while Mrs Mugabe’s shopping sprees there have hit the headlines.
Dubai, where Mr Mugabe is said to own a ten-bedroom mansion, Mexico and even the Seychelles have also been named in speculation about where the pair could end up.
Will he face criminal charges?
This could be a political as much as a legal decision. Despite the hatred with which Mr Mugabe is held in some quarters of Zimbabwe, he remains the father of the revolution to others.
Will the new administration want to go through public trials that could drag on for years after an effective coup that they have been pains to paint as legal?
Much could depend on the political opposition and whether now they have achieved the primary goal of ousting Mr Mugabe they will push for charges.
What about his money?
Mr Mugabe is said to enjoy a billion-dollar fortune and his wife “Gucci” Grace has become a figure of ridicule for her lavish spending habits.
However any attempt to claw back assets that some suspect Mr Mugabe and his family have been siphoning off from the state for years could prove difficult.
Their property empire, which includes a £4 million South African mansion revealed by The Daily Telegraph earlier this year, could be the obvious focal point of any financial backlash.
US calls for free and fair elections
The US has called for free and fair elections and unwavering respect for the rule of law following what it called the "historic moment".
"Tonight marks a historic moment for Zimbabwe," the embassy in Harare said in a statement. "Whatever short-term arrangements the government may establish, the path forward must lead to free, fair and inclusive elections."
Tonight marks an historic moment for Zimbabwe. pic.twitter.com/OewjfvsonJ— U.S. Embassy Harare (@usembassyharare) November 21, 2017
Africa's longest-serving leader?
President Mugabe may have had a little over 37 years at the helm when he stood down, but he was only Africa's second longest-serving leader, behind Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who has been in power since August 1979.
President Obiang Nguema still hangs on. But now taking Mr Mugabe's place behind him is President Paul Biya of Cameroon , who has 35 years under his belt. He became president on November 6, 1982, after serving seven years as prime minister.
In third place is Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who has spent 33 years in office, but not in one go. He first served from 1979 to 1992 and then came back to run the country in 1997 at the end of a civil war. Mr Sassou Nguesso was re-elected in March 2016.
Jubilation as night falls and news spreads
Telegraph correspondent Peta Thornycroft, in Harare, says news of Mr Mugabe's resignation came to people on the streets via Facebook Live video feeds.
The news spread as the sun began to set, leading to people "jumping, shouting, hooting, ululating embracing, sobbing, laughing and screaming" as the street lights flickered on.
"We are in the streets. We can’t stay inside, we have to celebrate the whole night by dancing and screaming," one mother of two said.
“I want to see him in leg irons,” shouted another man, referring to former president.
At the Rainbow Towers conference centre where the resignation notice was read out to a meeting of lawmakers discussing Mr Mugabe's impeachment, a framed portrait of the president was ripped from the wall, torn apart and stamped to pieces by a cheering crowd.
Men danced, women sang and many were in tears, brandishing national flags and often praising General Constantino Chiwenga - the man who led the army takeover - as the news began to sink in.
"We were reduced to worthless people under Mugabe," Yeukai Magwari, 33, a vendor dancing with a group of uniformed domestic maids in the Avondale neighbourhood of the capital.
"From now on we don't want to see our elderly men and women sleeping in queues outside banks, and people reduced to being destitute after going to college."
VIDEO: Celebrations on the streets of Harare
Who is the 'Crocodile', Emmerson Mnangagwa?
Associated Press reports:
Emmerson Mnangagwa, elected as the new leader of Zimbabwe's ruling political party and now poised to take over as the country's president within hours, has engineered a remarkable comeback using skills he no doubt learned from his longtime mentor, the newly resigned President Robert Mugabe.
Mr Mnangagwa served for decades as Mugabe's enforcer - a role that gave him a reputation for being astute, ruthless and effective at manipulating the levers of power. Among the population, he is more feared than popular, but he has strategically fostered a loyal support base within the military and security forces.
A leading government figure since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980, he became vice president in 2014 and is so widely known as the "Crocodile" that his supporters are called Team Lacoste for the brand's crocodile logo.
The 75-year-old "is smart and skillful, but will he be a panacea for Zimbabwe's problems? Will he bring good governance and economic management? We'll have to watch this space," said Piers Pigou, southern Africa expert for the International Crisis Group.
Mr Mugabe unwittingly set in motion the events that led to his own downfall, firing his vice president on Nov. 6. Mr Mnangagwa fled the country to avoid arrest while issuing a ringing statement saying he would return to lead Zimbabwe.
"Let us bury our differences and rebuild a new and prosperous Zimbabwe, a country that is tolerant to divergent views, a country that respects opinions of others, a country that does note isolate itself from the rest of the world because of one stubborn individual who believes he is entitled to rule this country until death," he said in the Nov. 8 statement.
He has not been seen in public. But shortly after Mr Mugabe's resignation was announced, ruling party chief whip Lovemore Matuke told The Associated Press that he would take over as the country's leader within 48 hours, saying Mnangagwa "is not far from here."
In an interview with The Associated Press years ago, Mr Mnangagwa was terse and stone-faced, backing up his reputation for saying little but acting decisively. Party insiders say that he can be charming and has friends of all colors.
Mr Mnangagwa joined the fight against white minority rule in Rhodesia while still a teen in the 1960s. In 1963, he received military training in Egypt and China. As one of the earliest guerrilla fighters against Ian Smith's Rhodesian regime, he was captured, tortured and convicted of blowing up a locomotive in 1965.
Sentenced to death by hanging, he was found to be under 21, and his punishment was commuted to 10 years in prison. He was jailed with other prominent nationalists including Mr Mugabe.
While imprisoned, Mr Mnangagwa studied through a correspondence school. After his release in 1975, he went to Zambia, where he completed a law degree and started practicing. Soon he went to newly independent Marxist Mozambique, where he became Mr Mugabe's assistant and bodyguard. In 1979, he accompanied Mr Mugabe to the Lancaster House talks in London that led to the end of Rhodesia and the birth of Zimbabwe.
"Our relationship has over the years blossomed beyond that of master and servant to father and son," Mr Mnangagwa wrote this month of his relationship with Mr Mugabe.
When Zimbabwe achieved independence in 1980, Mr Mnangagwa was appointed minister of security. He directed the merger of the Rhodesian army with Mr Mugabe's guerrilla forces and the forces of rival nationalist leader Joshua Nkomo. Ever since, he has kept close ties with the military and security forces.
In 1983, Mr Mugabe launched a brutal campaign against Nkomo's supporters that became known as the Matabeleland massacres for the deaths of 10,000 to 20,000 Ndebele people in Zimbabwe's southern provinces.
Mr Mnangagwa was widely blamed for planning the campaign of the army's North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade on their deadly mission into the Matabeleland provinces. Mr Mnangagwa denies this.
In recent years, Mr Mnangagwa has promoted himself as an experienced leader who will bring stability to Zimbabwe. But his promises to return Zimbabwe to democracy and prosperity are viewed with skepticism by many experts.
"He has successfully managed a palace coup that leaves ZANU-PF and the military in charge. He's been Mugabe's bag man for decades," said Zimbabwean author and commentator Peter Godwin. "I have low expectations about what he will achieve as president. I hope I will be proved wrong."
Civil society calls for national dialogue
Zimbabwe's Platform for Concerned Citizens, a civil society group, is calling for a far-reaching national dialogue involving all political parties to help plot a new course for the country after the resignation of Robert Mugabe.
"A National Transitional Authority must be the final outcome of a national dialogue," the PCC said in a statement. "We have informed both the government and the military of our view."
'Men breakdancing, women singing, children in tears'
AFP reports from Harare:
Car horns blared and cheering crowds raced through the streets of the Zimbabwean capital Harare Tuesday as news spread that President Robert Mugabe had resigned after 37 years in power.
The announcement came after days of building pressure on the 93-year-old authoritarian leader, who was feared by many of his citizens through his long and often repressive rule.
"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."
After a week of political turmoil, Zimbabweans reacted with shock and unfettered joy.
"I am so happy that Mugabe is gone, 37 years under a dictatorship is not a joke," said Tinashe Chakanetsa, 18.
"I am hoping for a new Zimbabwe ruled by the people and not by one person.
"We need leaders who are selected by the people and not rulers. I am looking forward to get a job after our economy recovers."
Massive crowds gathered within minutes of the shock announcement to parliament.
Men were breakdancing, women were singing and children were in tears, all brandishing national flags and praising General Constantino Chiwenga - the man who led the army takeover - as the news began to sink in.
"It's shocking, that guy is powerful, very powerful," said Barber Wright Chirombe, one of those who joined the euphoric street celebrations.
Zimbabweans take to the streets in Johannesburg
News agencies are reporting that Zimbabweans living in South Africa are taking to the streets in parts of central Johannesburg to celebrate.
Around three million Zimbabweans have emigrated from their home country to South Africa in search of work following Zimbabwe's economic collapse.
An incredible moment, caught on camera
More pics now coming in from Zimbabwe's parliament. A moment which will go down in history...
May: 'An opportunity to forge a new path free from oppression'
Prime Minister Theresa May says Zimbabwe has "an opportunity to forge a new path free of the oppression that characterised his rule".
She says Britain 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".
'No one is invincible in life'
Telegraph correspondent Peta Thornycroft, in Harare, reports that she can hear the sounds of "jubilation, chanting, singing, shrieking, horns blaring".
Gloria Chimini, 45, a stenographer at the parliament of Zimbabwe who had such a busy day helping move the infrastructure the parliament to the Zimbabwe International Conference Centre, could not stop whooping and crying: “Oh,my God, Oh my God. I am so happy…now I just don’t care about anything because he is gone.”
Innocent Manase, 28, a Harare lawyer told the Telegraph: "No one is invincible in life. Let’s not make a mistake of forgiving his past wrongs. This must serve as an example to future presidents that you don’t take people for granted.”
Malvern Grant, a visitor from South Africa, on business in Harare, showed up at the temporary parliament to have a look: “I am happy that the dictator has gone... All the best to Zimbabwe and Africa. you make us proud. Now, (president) Zuma, you are next.”
First pictures are coming in of the celebrations...
Mnangagwa 'to take over in 48 hours'
A Zimbabwe ruling party official tells The Associated Press that recently fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa will take over as the country's leader within 48 hours.
Ruling party chief whip Lovemore Matuke says Mr 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.
Mr Matuke says they look forward to Mr Mugabe doing the handover of power "so that Mnangagwa moves with speed to work for the country."
VIDEO: The moment Mugabe's resignation was announced
'Future of democracy is really problematic'
Brian Raftopoulos, Zimbabwe’s veteran political academic, says that while people are cheering now, there is good reason to be concerned about what the future holds:
Even the processes put in place from last week indicated it was just a matter of time before Mugabe’s resignation or removal would become a reality.
I must admit I thought this man would die in power, because of the power structures he built around himself. I am very concerned about what is coming next.
People are over enthusiastic about Mugabe going, when the future of democratic politics in Zimbabwe is really problematic.
The legacy of the manner in which this was done, and the centrality of the military, will see them as arbiters and I fear this will have negative implications for the future.
No mention yet who is leading the country...
The resignation letter written by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe that was read out by the speaker of the country's parliament made no mention of who he was leaving in charge of the country.
The speaker added that he was working on legal issues to make sure a new leader was in place by the end of Wednesday.
It is widely expected that Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former security chief known as The Crocodile who fled the country after he was sacked as Mr Mugabe's deputy, will take over.
UK Ambassador to the UN: 'The people of Zimbabwe have an opportunity not seen in decades"
'There'll never be anyone like Mugabe'
Mugabe government minister Jonathan Moyo, who was purged from the ruling ZANU-PF party along with the president, pays tribute:
There'll never be anyone like Cde RG Mugabe. I'm grateful for the opportunity to have served my country under & with him. I'm proud that I stood with & by this iconic leader during the trying moments of the last days of his Presidency. Democracy requires politics to lead the gun!— Prof Jonathan Moyo (@ProfJNMoyo) November 21, 2017
Car horns and wild cheering in Harare streets
Our correspondent in Harare, Peta Thornycroft, says Harare is "erupting" with excitement.
Cars began honking horns and people cheered in the streets, as the news spread like wildfire across the capital, with thousands pouring out to celebrate.
"We are just so happy that things are finally going to change," Togo Ndhlalambi, 32, a hairdresser, said. "We woke up every morning waiting for this day. This country has been through tough times."
Some people are holding posters of Zimbabwean army chief Constantino Chiwenga and former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose sacking this month triggered the military takeover that forced Mugabe to resign.
Mugabe resigned to 'allow a smooth transfer of power'
Speaker Jacob Mudenda read out Robert Mugabe's resignation letter to the parliament.
"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 letter said Mr Mugabe was tendering his resignation to "allow a smooth transfer of power".
The letter was read out in a cheering, dancing Parliament.
Zimbabwe's parliament erupts in cheers as speaker announces Mugabe's resignation
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 Mr 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.
Timeline Robert Mugabe as leader of Zimbabwe