4 HOURS AGO David Pilling and Joseph Cotterill in Harare 46 comments Robert Mugabe finally bowed to pressure and stood down as president of Zimbabwe on Tuesday, ending his 37-year rule that began with the optimism of independence but took the country to the brink of economic collapse.
His resignation came as parliament was starting impeachment proceedings against him — six days after the military took over the country and placed the 93-year-old head of state under house arrest. Within minutes of the announcement by the speaker of parliament that Mr Mugabe had finally quit, horns started blaring as Zimbabweans poured into the streets to celebrate the demise of the man who has ruled them since independence in 1980. “I’m so very, very happy. Farewell to the president, goodbye,” said Godknows Mwanza, a motorist beeping his horn repeatedly and offering fist-bumps to passers-by. Machina, a 63-year-old pensioner, shouted exuberantly: “Thirty-seven years is not a joke. This is fantastic for Zimbabwe. We could not talk freely. Now we can.” Since generals rolled out the armoured vehicles last week, Mr Mugabe had faced unrelenting pressure to resign from his own Zanu-PF party, from influential veterans of the liberation struggle and from an emboldened population. Although General Constantino Chiwenga, who led the military takeover, said he had intervened to save Mr