Robert Mugabe resigned as Zimbabwe’s president on Tuesday, swept from power as his 37-year reign of autocratic control and brutality crumbled within days of a military takeover.
The move looks set to bring an end to Zimbabwe’s worst-ever political crisis since the country won independence from Britain in 1980.
The bombshell announcement was made by the Speaker at a special joint session of parliament which had convened to impeach the 93-year-old who has dominated every aspect of Zimbabwean public life for decades.
On the streets, the news sparked an explosion of wild celebration, with car horns honking and people erupting into ecstatic cheers and frenzied dancing.
“I Robert Gabriel Mugabe in terms of section 96 of the constitution of Zimbabwe hereby formally tender my resignation… with immediate effect,” said the letter which was read out by parliamentary speaker Jacob Mudenda.
“My decision to resign is voluntary on my part. It arises from my concern for the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and my desire to ensure a smooth, peaceful and non-violent transfer of power that underpins national security, peace and stability.”
It capped an unprecedented week in which the military seized control and tens of thousands of ordinary Zimbabweans took to the streets in an extraordinary show of defiance to demand that he leave.