(HARARE, Zimbabwe) — Robert Mugabe has resigned as the leader of Zimbabwe after more than 30 years in power, according to a statement read by the speaker of the country’s parliament. The announcement was met with widespread cheers from lawmakers.
Mugabe’s reported resignation comes amid heightened political tensions in the country.
Mugabe, 93, was placed under house arrest by the military several days ago.
Zimbabwe’s military is believed to have taken charge of the country earlier this month.
The first signs of a military takeover emerged November 14th as armored vehicles were deployed near the capital, one week after Mugabe fired his deputy and longtime ally, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and accused him of scheming to take power, including through witchcraft.
The U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe issued an advisory that same night, urging all employees to stay home the following day and warning American citizens in the southern African nation to shelter in place “as a result of the ongoing political uncertainty.”
Zimbabwe’s army addressed the country on state-run media on November 15th, vehemently denying speculation this was a coup d’etat and assuring citizens the president and his family are “safe and sound.”
Two days after that, on November 17th, Mugabe made his first public appearance since the alleged house arrest. He delivered a speech at a university graduation ceremony in the country’s capital, Harare.
Mugabe’s resignation marks a major turning point in Zimbabwe’s history. He became the country’s first prime minister in 1980 following the end of British colonial rule over the country, which was formerly known as Rhodesia. Mugabe then became president in 1987 and had ruled the country since then.
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