He will be remembered differently. To others, he is the iconic revolutionary who has liberated Zimbabweans, and has stood for the interests of Africans against imperialism. To others, he casts a dark and flawed legacy, one that evokes bitter feelings of anger and rage.
In what has been dramatic, and after all the pressure mounted on him, Robert Mugabe has finally resigned. Zimbabweans never thought this day would ever come in their lives. With each passing day, month and year, it seemed Mugabe was vested with immortality and he would rule forever. His wife, Grace Mugabe, once immortalized him, remarking that he would rule from the grave, and that he would also rule from a wheelchair.
Now all that is over. The imaginations which sent Zimbabweans into a pool of fear have come to a grinding halt. The rule of Robert Mugabe has finally collapsed. To many Zimbabweans, this still feels like a dream. In a way, some saw it coming. But with Mugabe's defiance, especially following his statement on Sunday, many had resigned to the fact that he is here to stay. But the pressure from his own party has now led to him relinquishing power.
It is interesting to note that the same coercive instrument he forged over the years and he used to retain power is the same that has orchestrated his downfall. It seems Mugabe did not want to face the humiliation of impeachment proceedings, and has thus finally resigned. The announcement came during a parliamentary hearing to impeach him, following a military takeover last week. A letter submitted to parliament by the 93-year-old said his decision to resign was voluntary on his part. Wild jubilation broke out among MPs when Jacob Mudenda, the speaker, told the parliament.
To many a Zimbabwean, this signifies a new chapter, a new epoch. Many could not picture life outside the rule of Mugabe. The misery, despair that had been cultivated in the people by Mugabe's rule clearly repelled any chances of having hope. Impeachment proceedings against Mugabe began earlier on Tuesday as the ruling party, Zanu-PF, attempted to remove him from office. Thousands of Zimbabweans had also turned up outside parliament to urge on MPs, chanting, dancing and waving placards in Africa Unity square. Shortly before legislators met, the man expected to succeed him broke more than a week of silence to add his voice to those calling for the ageing leader to step down. Emmerson Mnangagwa, until recently Mugabe’s vice-president and right hand man, urged the nonagenarian leader to “accept the will of the people”.
Car horns blared and cheering crowds raced through the streets of the Zimbabwean capital Harare Tuesday as news spread that President Robert Mugabe, 93, had resigned after 37 years in power. "We are just so happy that things are finally going to change," Togo Ndhlalambi, 32, a hairdresser, told AFP. "We woke up every morning waiting for this day. This country has been through tough times."\
The day has finally arrived. It has been a lifetime, but the Mugabe era, or what others mockingly call error, has come to an end. Mugabe had been an isolated figure for the past two weeks, being under house arrest, and having his wife and key allies removed from power since the military took charge. With how events were unfolding, it was becoming gradually inevitable for Robert Mugabe to cling onto power, despite his defiance.
The case for impeachment against Mugabe, focused heavily on his age and the machinations of his wife for “usurping constitutional power”, leaving a man who is still respected as a hero of the liberation struggle against colonial rule as much dignity as possible.
Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa is now set to become the interim president of both party and state.