Robert Mugabe resigned as president of Zimbabwe Tuesday, swept from power as his 37-year reign of brutality and autocratic control crumbled within days of a military takeover.
The bombshell news was delivered by the parliament speaker to a special joint session of the assembly which had convened to impeach Mugabe, 93, 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.
“I Robert Gabriel Mugabe in terms of section 96 of the constitution of Zimbabwe hereby formally tender my resignation… with immediate effect,” said speaker Jacob Mudenda, reading the letter.
“My decision to resign is voluntary on my part. It arises from my concern for the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and my desire to ensure a smooth, peaceful and non-violent transfer of power that underpins national security, peace and stability.”
It capped an unprecedented week in which the military seized control, tens of thousands of ordinary Zimbabweans took to the streets to demand that the president go and Mugabe wrestled to remain in power.