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ROBERT MUGABE RESIGNS

Robert Mugabe resigned as President of Zimbabwe Tuesday, Parliament Speaker Jacob Mudenda announced, bringing the curtain down on a 37-year reign.

Mugabe was swept from power as hisautocratic rule crumbled within days of a military takeover.

“I Robert Gabriel Mugabe in terms of section 96 of the constitution of Zimbabwe hereby formally tender my resignation...

 with immediate effect,” said speaker Mudenda, reading the letter.

The bombshell news was delivered to a special joint session of Parliament.

Lawmakers had convened to debate a motion to impeach Mugabe, who has dominated every aspect of Zimbabwean public life since independence in 1980.

It was greeted on the streets of the capital Harare with car horns and wild cheering.

It capped an unprecedented week in which the military seized control, tens of thousands of Zimbabwean citizens took to the streets to demand the president go and 93-year-old Mugabe wrestled to remain in power.

Mugabe had ruled Zimbabwe almost unopposed since the country won independence from Britain.

But his efforts to position his wife Grace as his successor triggered fury in the military that had underpinned his regime.

Meanwhile, 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”.

Mugabe has been under house arrest and key allies of his wife, Grace, removed from power since the military took charge last week.

The ruling Zanu-PF party, which at the weekend voted to make Mnangagwa its leader and demote Mugabe to a rank-and-file member, introduced the motion to impeach and the opposition seconded it.

- AFP