Zimbabwe latest news live: Emmerson Mnangagwa set to return to be sworn in as president after Robert Mugabe’s resignation

HARARE – Former vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to take control  Zimbabwe’s recently fired vice president is set to return to the country to be sworn in as leader after a week of turmoil saw the military swoop into the capital and oust Robert Mugabe.

Former vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to take control
Former vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to take control AP

Zimbabwe’s recently fired vice president is set to return to the country to be sworn in as leader after a week of turmoil saw the military swoop into the capital and oust Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe, 93, announced his resignation in the middle of impeachment proceedings against him on Tuesday.

The country erupted into scenes of joy, with cheering and dancing in the streets going on late into the night as people celebrated the end of a leader whose rule was overtaken by economic collapse, government dysfunction and human rights violations.

Now the focus turns to Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s long-time deputy who was pushed aside earlier this month as unpopular first lady Grace Mugabe positioned herself to replace him and succeed her husband.

Mnangagwa fled the country, claiming to have received threats on his life but he is due to return to the country today to commence his term.

Live Updates

Emmerson Mnangagwa’s return
Mnangagwa should land at 1.30 pm (11.30 GMT) and is expected to be sworn in today or tomorrow.
He will then be expected to lead ZANU-PF into elections next year, Larry Mavhima, an ally of the former vice president, told Reuters.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, left, stands behind Robert Mugabe

Good morning, welcome to the Standard’s live coverage of the political situation in Zimbabwe.
Today, former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa is set to return to the country.
He should be sworn in as president following the resignation of Robert Mugabe after nearly four decades in power, a senior ruling party official said.
We will be updating you on events as they unfold.

That’s it for our live coverage.
On a momentous day, Robert Mugabe resigned as the president of Zimbabwe days after a coup swept the country.
Zimbabwe’s parliament speaker Jacob Mudenda confirmed the news this afternoon after a motion was delivered to have him impeached for refusing to step down.
He is expected to be replaced Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former security chief known as The Crocodile, within 48 hours.

President-elect speaks
Emmerson Mnangagwa (AP)
Emmerson Mnangagwa says he wants to “ensure a peaceful transition to the consolidation of our democracy” and to “tackle the political and economic challenges” facing Zimbabwe
He told NewsDay on Tuesday evening: “I want to congratulate the people of Zimbabwe on reaching this historic moment.
“Together, we will ensure a peaceful transition to the consolidation of our democracy, and bring in a fresh start for all Zimbabweans and foster peace and unity.
“I look forward together with you the people of Zimbabwe to tackle the political and economic challenges facing our beloved country.”

Celebrations into the night

‘I can’t stop crying’
The Zimbabwe pastor who last year led the country’s largest anti-government protests in a decade has said he “can’t stop crying” following the resignation of Robert Mugabe as president.
Evan Mawarire tweeted as residents of the capital, Harare, poured into the streets after Mugabe’s resignation letter was read out in Parliament in the middle of impeachment proceedings.

Queen now oldest head of state
Robert Mugabe’s resignation as president of Zimbabwe at the age of 93 has pushed Queen Elizabeth II into the position of the world’s oldest living head of state.
Here are the current top eight oldest heads of state:
1. Queen Elizabeth II, United Kingdom: Age – 91
2. Beji Caid Essebsi, Tunisia: Age – 90
3. Sheikh Sabah IV Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Kuwait: Age – 88
4. Raul Castro, Cuba: Age – 86
5. Paul Biya, Cameroon: Age – 84
6. Michel Aoun, Lebanon: Age – 84
7. Akihito, Emperor of Japan: Age – 83
8. King Salaman, Saudi Arabia: Age – 81
The Queen with Mugabe in 1994 (PA)

Who is Emmerson Mnangagwa?
Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75, is expected to be named president of Zimbabwe within the next two days.
He was one of Mugabe’s most trusted lieutenants, having been at his side in prison, during wartime and then in government.
He was appointed in 2014 as Mugabe’s official deputy, and had appeared well set to be his eventual successor before he was dismissed for showing “traits of disloyalty”.
Mnangagwa has earned the nickname “Ngwena”, Shona for crocodile, an animal famed in Zimbabwean lore for its stealth and ruthlessness.
Emmerson Mnangagwa (AP)
He backed Mugabe’s economic nationalism, especially a drive to force foreign firms to hand majority stakes to local blacks, suggesting he may not be the pro-market pragmatist many investors were hoping for.
He has been in every administration since independence, holding posts as varied as minister of state security, defence and finance, as well as speaker of parliament.
Most controversially, he was in charge of internal security in the mid-1980s when Mugabe deployed a crack North Korean-trained brigade against rebels loyal to his rival Joshua Nkomo.
Rights groups say 20,000 civilians, mostly from the Ndebele tribe, were killed. Mugabe denies genocide or crimes against humanity but has admitted it was a “moment of madness”.
Mnangagwa’s role remains shrouded in mystery.
He learnt his politics in prison in the 1960s after being sentenced to death for sabotage by British authorities, having been captured while in one of the earliest guerrilla units fighting white colonial rule in what was then Rhodesia.
He was 19 and only spared the noose by a law prohibiting the execution of convicts under 21.

Respect the rule of law – Amnesty International
Human rights groups are urging Zimbabwe to respect the rule of law as the country shifts into an era without Robert Mugabe.
Amnesty International secretary-general Salil Shetty said in a statement that the people of Zimbabwe deserve better “after more than three decades of violent repression.”
Shetty said that during Mugabe’s 37 years in power, “tens of thousands of people were tortured, forcibly disappeared or killed. President Mugabe condoned human rights violations, defended criminal actions of his officials and allowed a culture of impunity for grotesque crimes to thrive.”
Some Zimbabweans and observers are watching with concern as Mugabe’s longtime deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa is poised to be sworn in within the next two days.

Military urges ‘restraint’
General Constantino Chiwenga (EPA)
Zimbabwe army chief General Constantino Chiwenga has called for “restraint” as Robert Mugabe’s resignation sparked wild celebrations.
Chiwenga said at a press briefing: “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.”

‘Jubilant scenes’ at the Zimbabwean embassy in London

Mugabe resignation letter in full
I, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, in terms of Section 96, Sub-Section 1 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, hereby formally tender my resignation as the president of the Republic of Zimbabwe with immediate effect.
My decision to resign is voluntary on my part and arising from my concern for the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe.
And my desire is to ensure a smooth, peaceful and non-violent transfer of power that underpins national security, peace and stability.
Kindly give public notice of my resignation as soon as possible as required by Section 96, Sub-Section 1 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
Yours faithfully, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe ‘can thrive once more’
According to the BBC’s John Simpson.

A ‘moment of joy’ – Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street on Tuesday (AFP)
Boris Johnson said Robert Mugabe was “a despot who impoverished his country” and his exit is a “moment of joy” for Zimbabwe.
The Foreign Secretary added he hopes Mugabe’s resignation will be a turning point and that there should now be “free and fair democratic elections and above all not a transition from one despotic rule to another.”
He said Mugabe played a major role in the creation of an independent Zimbabwe but had “allowed that legacy to be squandered and his country went, I’m afraid, to wrack and ruin.”
Asked if Mugabe and his wife, Grace, should face justice, Mr Johnson says: “That is a decision for the people of Zimbabwe.”

Mnangagwa ‘to be sworn in Wednesday or Thursday’
Zimbabwe’s former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa will be sworn in as president on Wednesday or Thursday, the legal secretary of ruling party Zanu-PF told Reuters.
Separately, the Zanu-PF chief whip has said that Mnangagwa will be sworn in within 48 hours and would serve the remainder of Mugabe’s term until the next general election, which must be held by September 2018.

Mugabe portraits removed
Images are being posted on Twitter of Robert Mugabe’s portrait being removed.

‘A better Zimbabwe’
Guardian journalist Emma Graham-Harrison spoke to mother Mildred Tadiwa who sees a brighter future for her five-month-old daughter.
She told the newspaper: “I’m excited for myself, my baby, the whole nation. My daughter will grow up in a better Zimbabwe.”

‘Tonight we celebrate!’
It’s approaching 8pm local time and it seems a long night of partying is ahead.

US Embassy lauds ‘historic moment’
The US Embassy in Zimbabwe has called Robert Mugabe’s resignation “historic”, adding the country has an “opportunity to set itself on a new path”.
It added in a statement: “Whatever short-term arrangements the government may establish, the path forward must lead to free, fair, and inclusive elections.”
The United States also urges “unwavering respect for the rule of law.”
The US in 2003 imposed targeted sanctions, a travel ban and an asset freeze against Mugabe and close associates, citing his government’s rights abuses and evidence of electoral fraud.

‘The sense of unity is extraordinary’

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