Face of the Day

Jubilant Zimbabweans have celebrated late into the night after Robert Mugabe resigned as president.

He held power for 37 years and once said “only God” could remove him.

Mr Mugabe’s shock resignation came in the form of a letter read out by the speaker of parliament.

In it, Mr Mugabe – who had so far resisted pressure from the public, the army and his own party to step aside – said he was resigning to allow a smooth and peaceful transfer of power, and that his decision was voluntary.

The announcement abruptly halted an impeachment hearing that had begun against him on Tuesday.

He’s been given a chance for a reasonably dignified exit, which is more than he’s given other people.

There is happiness, but also a realisation that his departure does nothing to deal with the corrupt system that allowed him to flourish.

Despite welcoming the news, Zimbabwean opposition and civil society figures have warned that the political culture needs to change.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai told the BBC he hoped that Zimbabwe was on a “new trajectory” that would include free and fair elections.
He said Mr Mugabe should be allowed to “go and rest for his last days”.

Prominent Zimbabwean opposition politician David Coltart tweeted: “We have removed a tyrant but not yet a tyranny.”

Exactly.

And as we’ve seen in other situations, the removal of a tyrant causes a readjustment of the power structure.   I suspect the country is in for a lot more pain in the medium term.  At least under tyranny, there was a sense of stability.

 


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