President Robert Mugabe has resigned via letter, speaker of Zimbabwe’s parliament says, halting impeachment debate.The 93-year-old resigned from the highest office in Zimbabwe following a week long crisis, military take over and expulsion from his own ruling ZANU-PF party, in the Zimbabwe.
This move from Mr. Mugabe ends his four decades of rule by a man who turned from independence hero to archetypal African strongman.
His resignition also came voluntary shortly after parliament began an impeachment process seen as the only legal way to force him out.
Wild celebrations broke out at a joint sitting of parliament when Speaker Jacob Mudenda announced Mugabe’s resignation and suspended the impeachment procedure.
Interestingly, Mr. Mugabe won’t be succeeded by his wife “Gucci Grace.”
The African Hero
Mugabe is credited as a true African hero for his actions as a liberation leader in the 1980’s.
He has been praised for making good on a promise to return land to Africans and addressing inequity in the distribution of land, despite the ensuing civil discord.
In 2015, Zimbabwe Financial Gazette reported the country has the highest adult literacy rate in Africa with 90 percent adult literacy.
According to the latest UNESCO estimates however, Zimbabwe has an adult literacy rate of 83 percent with several other Sub-Saharan African countries having higher literacy rates.
A learned man
Mugabe buried himself in books from an early age and was educated at Marist Brothers and Jesuit schools, notably Kutama College in the Zvimba district, north west of what was then Salisbury.
He first qualified as a teacher, but left Southern Rhodesia to study at the at the University of Fort Hare in neighbouring South Africa where he obtained the first of his seven degrees in 1951.
When he was imprisoned in 1964, Mugabe again threw himself into his studies acquiring two law degrees.
Later he held a Bachelor of Administration and Bachelor of Education from the University of South Africa (UNISA) and a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Law, Master of Science and Master of Law from the University of London’s External Programme.
He was awarded 13 honourary degrees, but three of these were later withdrawn.
The liberation hero
Mugabe became politically active when he returned to Southern Rhodesia in 1960, joining the National Democratic Party, which was later banned. He then, along with other nationalists, formed the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU).
He left the Joshua Nkomo-led ZAPU to join a splinter group called the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) founded by founded by Ndabaningi Sithole, where he soon rose to the position of Secretary-General.
After a spate of violent clashes between the two parties, both nationalist organisations were banned in 1964 by the white regime of Prime Minister Ian Smith. Their leaders, including Mugabe, were imprisoned indefinitely and the Rhodesian Bush War (Zimbabwe War of Independence) against the Smith government began.
Mugabe was also chosen in absentia to lead ZANU while still incarcerated in 1974. After his release the same year, Mugabe left the country for Mozambique and took full control of the Marxist and Maoist ZANU in 1975.
1. He was knighted by the Queen of England. Elizabeth II awarded Mugabe a Grand Knight Cross in the order of the Bath in 1994 for his role in the development of Zimbabwe/UK relations, but this was subsequently revoked.
2. His father, Gabriel Matibili, was a carpenter from Nyasaland (later Malawi), who abandoned the family.
3. Robert Mugabe was not in favour of “scruffy” reggae musician Bob Marley playing at the independence celebrations in 1980, preferring the more clean-cut Cliff Richard.
4. In 2000 he won 100,000 Zimbabwe dollars in a lottery arranged by a partly stated-owned bank.
5. In 2013, Mugabe’s net worth was estimated at US$10-million.
6. He was once nominated for the Nobel Prize and was awarded the Chinese equivalent in 2015.
7. Mugabe has served as both chair of the Organisation of African Unity and the African Union. He shares this distinction with Congolese Republic President Denis Sassou Nguesso.
8. Although he is a great cricket fan, he played tennis at school.
9. He fathered his last child, Chatunga Bellarmine Mugabe when he was 73 years old.
10. At 93, he is the oldest head of state on earth.