New era for Zimbos as Mugabe steps down

22nd November 2017
GONE: President Robert Mugabe has resigned Source:The Midweek Sun

A New Era has finally dawned for Zimbabwe. There may be no real change of guard from Zimbabwe National Union Patriotic Front ZANU (PF), but the conditions are in place to ensure a transition to true democracy. This is because President Robert Mugabe finally bowed to pressure and resigned voluntarily as the country’s head of state yesterday.

The controversial Zimbabwean leader had been under pressure to resign since last week when the Zimbabwe Defence Force (ZDF) took control of state power from him. For the period of the siege, he was placed under house arrest with his family although he then made two public appearances – at a university graduation ceremony and on Sunday evening when he addressed the Zimbabwean people. His resignation letter was read out to members of the National Assembly and Senate by the Speaker of Parliament, Advocate Jacob Mudenda during a sitting meant to impeach him at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC). Mugabe had called a meeting of the cabinet yesterday (Tuesday) before his impeachment but less than five ministers turned up. Multitudes of people immediately flooded the streets of all cities and towns across the country.

The resignation of the 93-year old leader ends weeks of drama and anxiety for the country beginning last Wednesday. Former Vice President Emerson Mnangagwa is expected to take over as the Interim President as ordered by ZANU-PF and the military. According to the Zimbabwe constitution, “If the President ceases to hold office, the question of who takes over is determined by paragraph 14 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution.  Under this paragraph the Vice-President takes over until the President’s political party – i.e. ZANU-PF – nominates a new President and notifies the Speaker of its choice. 

The party has 90 days within which to make its nomination.  The nominee is then sworn in as President and holds office until the next general election.” Currently, the other Vice President Phekezela Mphoko’s whereabouts are still unkown with some claiming he is under house arrest in Chinhoyi and others saying he has tried to flee the country. In the meantime, the new President will hold office until the next general election, which should be held not later than the 23rd August 2018. Upon the assumption of office by the new President – i.e. when he is sworn in – all current Ministers and Deputy Ministers will go out of office in terms of section 108(1)(c) of the Constitution. 

They will however be eligible for re-appointment when the new President appoints his own Ministers.  It is hoped that the he will reduce the number in what has been an unnecessarily large Cabinet. The departure of Mugabe sees a heavy burden being lifted from neighbouring countries which have had to bear the brunt of keeping and maintaining economic refugees in addition to the hardships of running their own economies. It is thus expected that t he industrious Zimbabweans will repatriate to their native land - to till it; build its industries and restore its economy. Certainly this will benefit the region as well.

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