The news abruptly halted an impeachment hearing that had begun against him.The ruling Zanu-PF party says former Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa will succeed Mr Mugabe, in power since 1980.Mr Mnangagwa's sacking earlier this month triggered a political crisis.
It had been seen by many as an attempt to clear the way for Grace Mugabe to succeed her husband as leader and riled the military leadership, who stepped in and put Mr Mugabe under house arrest.After the resignation announcement, lawmakers roared in jubilation.Mr Mugabe, 93, was until his resignation the world's oldest leader. He had previously refused to quit despite last week's military takeover and days of protests.According to the constitution his successor should be the current vice-president, Phelekezela Mphoko, a supporter of Grace Mugabe.
But Zanu-PF chief whip Lovemore Matuke told that Mr Mnangagwa would be in office "within 48 hours".Speaking from an undisclosed location earlier on Tuesday, Mr Mnangagwa said he had fled abroad two weeks ago when he learned of a plot to kill him. Driving through Harare, the cheers and the blaring of car horns signalled the end of the Mugabe era.The man who dominated Zimbabwe for so long has already begun to fade into history here. It is a city singing with the noise of joy.Exactly a week after the military first moved against President Mugabe, I was standing in Parliament as legislators debated the motion to impeach him.An usher approached the speaker and handed him a letter. He stood to speak and we strained to hear his words. They were muffled but momentous. Robert Mugabe had resigned.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May said Mr Mugabe's resignation "provides Zimbabwe with an opportunity to forge a new path free of the oppression that characterised his rule". She said that former colonial power Britain, "as Zimbabwe's oldest friend", will do all it can to support free and fair elections and the rebuilding of the Zimbabwean economy.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".(UNI)