Mugabe agrees to stand down as Zimbabwe president

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Robert Mugabe agreed on Sunday to resign as Zimbabwe’s president hours after the ruling ZANU-PF party fired him as its leader after 37 years in charge, a source familiar with the negotiations said.

ZANU-PF had given the 93-year-old less than 24 hours to quit as head of state or face impeachment, an attempt to secure a peaceful end to his tenure after a de facto coup.

The source said the Zimbabwe military was working on a resignation statement by Mugabe, without giving details.

Zimbabwe’s state broadcaster ZBC said Mugabe would address the nation shortly. Earlier on Sunday, the official Herald newspaper showed pictures of him meeting top generals at his State House offices, and a ZBC source said an outside-broadcast van was being sent in preparation for an announcement.

Mugabe, the only leader the southern African nation has known since independence from Britain in 1980, was replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the deputy he sacked this month in a move that triggered the mid-week intervention by the army.

In scenes unthinkable just a week ago, the announcement drew cheers from the 200 delegates packed into ZANU-PF’s Harare headquarters to seal the fate of Mugabe, whose support has crumbled in the four days since the army seized power.

Mugabe was given until noon local time on Monday to resign or face impeachment, an ignominious end to the career of the “Grand Old Man” of African politics who was once feted across the continent as an anti-colonial liberation hero.

© Reuters

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