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But Jacob Zuma’s government, along with a number of other ones in the African Union and South African Development Community (SADC), ha S spoken out against the removal of the President by a military takeover.Mr Zuma, and the Angolan President Joao Lourenco, had been due to fly to Zimbabwe on Wednesday to mediate between Mr Mugabe and the military.There was relief among many in Zanu-PF that the matter was not to drag on longer than it already had.Critics say that skeletons from the party’s decades in power may have come tumbling out if the impeachment process had run its full, long course. Lovemore Matuke, the chief whip, said: “I am very happy that the President has chosen to go voluntarily.But any last attempts to arrive at a settlement which may have allowed Mr Mugabe a bit more time had failed.The military, who had carried out a coup last week, announced on Monday evening that talks would be held between Mr Mugabe and Mr Mnangagwa when the latter returned from exile in South Africa.
The inglorious end to 93-year-old Mr Mugabe’s attempts to cling on to power came three-and-half hours after the initial impeachment proceedings had begun, in an atmosphere of excitement and tension in the packed and overflowing chamber of the parliament in Harare.
Then there was pandemonium, with MPs and Senators clapping, shouting, cheering and hugging each other.
The noise inside the Harare International Conference Centre, where proceedings had been moved to accommodate the two houses of parliament, was soon matched and surpassed by roars from outside, followed by the noise of car horns and music.
The US embassy in Harare said it was a “historic moment” and congratulated Zimbabweans who “raised their voices and stated peacefully and clearly that the time for change was overdue”.
In London, Theresa May said the resignation “provides Zimbabwe with an opportunity to forge a new path free of the oppression that characterised his rule”.
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This would have ended in serious embarrassment.” Former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had been sacked recently by Mr Mugabe – at the instigation, it is claimed, of Grace Mugabe – will be appointed president in the next 48 hours, the ruling party announced.