Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule is over. He resigned as the ruling party moved to impeach the 93-year-old leader, almost a week after the military seized control of the country. His exit clears the way for Emmerson Mnangagwa to claim the top job and for military veterans of the country’s struggle for independence to reassert their political clout. Mugabe’s violent tenure in office included allegations of vote-rigging, human rights abuses and policy missteps that have driven what was once one of Africa’s star performers to economic ruin.
Not legally speaking. The armed forces were quick to say that they weren’t targeting Mugabe or his family when they took control Nov. 15. They said their actions were directed against “criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country.” The ruling party was within its rights to order him to quit, to force him out if he refused to go and nominate a replacement. Tens of thousands of people poured into the streets of Harare, the capital, on Nov. 18 to celebrate Mugabe’s expected departure. Mugabe ruled for 37 years — the entire existence of Zimbabwe — after the downfall of the white minority government of what was then called Rhodesia. Violent repression made Mugabe a pariah to most of the Western world.