Zimbabwe's Mugabe resigns, ending four decades of rule


HARARE, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Robert Mugabe resigned as Zimbabwe's president on Tuesday a week after the army and his former political allies moved to end four decades of rule by a man once feted as an independence hero who became feared as a despot.

His former vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, will be sworn in as president on Wednesday or Thursday, Patrick Chinamasa, legal secretary of the ruling ZANU-PF told Reuters.

The 93-year-old Mugabe had clung on for a week after an army takeover. He finally resigned shortly after parliament began an impeachment process seen as the only legal way to force him out.

SEE EARLIER: Mugabe defies demands to quit as Zimbabwe's leader after party fires him

Wild celebrations broke out at a joint sitting of parliament when Speaker Jacob Mudenda read outMugabe's brief resignation letter and suspended the impeachment procedure. Mugabe, who has been confined to his Harare residence, did not appear in person.

People danced and car horns blared at news that the era of Mugabe -- who has led Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 -- was finally over.

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Robert Mugabe resigns
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Robert Mugabe resigns
Zimbabweans celebrate after President Robert Mugabe resigns in Harare, Zimbabwe November 21, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Zimbabweans living in South Africa celebrate after President Robert Mugabe resigns, in Johannesburg, South Africa November 21, 2017. REUTERS/James Oatway
Zimbabweans drink, sing, and dance as they celebrate at night at an intersection in downtown Harare, Zimbabwe Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. Mugabe resigned as president with immediate effect Tuesday after 37 years in power, shortly after parliament began impeachment proceedings against him. (Photo by Belal Khaled/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Zimbabweans drink, sing, and dance as they celebrate at night at an intersection in downtown Harare, Zimbabwe Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. Mugabe resigned as president with immediate effect Tuesday after 37 years in power, shortly after parliament began impeachment proceedings against him. (Photo by Belal Khaled/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Zimbabweans drink, sing, and dance as they celebrate at night at an intersection in downtown Harare, Zimbabwe Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. Mugabe resigned as president with immediate effect Tuesday after 37 years in power, shortly after parliament began impeachment proceedings against him. (Photo by Belal Khaled/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A Zimbabwean national burns a shirt of the Zimbabwe's ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF), as hundreds of Zimbabweans living in South Africa celebrate the resignation of Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe in the streets of the district of Hillbrow in Johannesburg on November 21, 2017. The announcement came after days of mounting pressure on the 93-year-old leader, whose long and authoritarian rule made him feared by many of his citizens. / AFP PHOTO / WIKUS DE WET (Photo credit should read WIKUS DE WET/AFP/Getty Images)
Zimbabweans drink, sing, and dance as they celebrate at night at an intersection in downtown Harare, Zimbabwe Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. Mugabe resigned as president with immediate effect Tuesday after 37 years in power, shortly after parliament began impeachment proceedings against him. (Photo by Belal Khaled/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Zimbabweans drink, sing, and dance as they celebrate at night at an intersection in downtown Harare, Zimbabwe Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. Mugabe resigned as president with immediate effect Tuesday after 37 years in power, shortly after parliament began impeachment proceedings against him. (Photo by Belal Khaled/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A Zimbabwean national burns a shirt of the Zimbabwe's ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF), as hundreds of Zimbabweans living in South Africa celebrate the resignation of Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe in the streets of the district of Hillbrow in Johannesburg on November 21, 2017. The announcement came after days of mounting pressure on the 93-year-old leader, whose long and authoritarian rule made him feared by many of his citizens. / AFP PHOTO / WIKUS DE WET (Photo credit should read WIKUS DE WET/AFP/Getty Images)
Zimbabweans celebrate in the morning sun after President Robert Mugabe resigned in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 22, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
Zimbabweans celebrate after President Robert Mugabe resigns in Harare, Zimbabwe November 21, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
An anti-Zimbabwe President holds a placard during a gathering at Unity square, on November 21, 2017 in the capital Harare, praying and asking for Mugabe's impeachment, as Parliament prepares to start impeachment proceedings against the President, while ousted vice president who could be the country's next leader, tells him to step down. As the 93-year-old autocrat faced intensifying pressure to quit, southern Africa's regional bloc announced it was dispatching the presidents of Angola and South Africa to Harare to discuss the crisis. / AFP PHOTO / TONY KARUMBA (Photo credit should read TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to resign demonstrate outside the parliament in Harare, Zimbabwe November 21, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
People holding Zimbabwean flags celebrate in the street after the resignation of Zimbabwe's president on November 21, 2017 in Harare. Car horns blared and cheering crowds raced through the streets of the Zimbabwean capital Harare as news spread that President Robert Mugabe, 93, had resigned after 37 years in power. / AFP PHOTO / Marco Longari (Photo credit should read MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)
Zimbabwe's members of parliament celebrate after Mugabe's resignation on November 21, 2017 in Harare. Robert Mugabe resigned as president of Zimbabwe on November 21, 2017 swept from power as his 37-year reign of brutality and autocratic control crumbled within days of a military takeover. The bombshell news was delivered by the parliament speaker to a special joint session of the assembly which had convened to impeach Mugabe, 93, who has dominated every aspect of Zimbabwean public life since independence in 1980. / AFP PHOTO / Jekesai NJIKIZANA (Photo credit should read JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)
People celebrate in the streets after the resignation of Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe on November 21, 2017 in Harare. Car horns blared and cheering crowds raced through the streets of the Zimbabwean capital Harare as news spread that President Robert Mugabe, 93, had resigned after 37 years in power. / AFP PHOTO / Marco LONGARI (Photo credit should read MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)
Zimbabwe's members of parliament celebrate after Mugabe's resignation on November 21, 2017 in Harare. Robert Mugabe resigned as president of Zimbabwe on November 21, 2017 swept from power as his 37-year reign of brutality and autocratic control crumbled within days of a military takeover. The bombshell news was delivered by the parliament speaker to a special joint session of the assembly which had convened to impeach Mugabe, 93, who has dominated every aspect of Zimbabwean public life since independence in 1980. / AFP PHOTO / Jekesai NJIKIZANA (Photo credit should read JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)
People and soldiers celebrate after the resignation of Zimbabwe's president on November 21, 2017 in Harare. Car horns blared and cheering crowds raced through the streets of the Zimbabwean capital Harare as news spread that President Robert Mugabe, 93, had resigned after 37 years in power. / AFP PHOTO / Marco Longari (Photo credit should read MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)
Zimbabweans celebrate after President Robert Mugabe resigns in Harare, Zimbabwe November 21, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
Zimbabweans celebrate after President Robert Mugabe resigns in Harare, Zimbabwe November 21, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
Zimbabwe's members of parliament celebrate after Mugabe's resignation on November 21, 2017 in Harare. Robert Mugabe resigned as president of Zimbabwe on November 21, 2017 swept from power as his 37-year reign of brutality and autocratic control crumbled within days of a military takeover. The bombshell news was delivered by the parliament speaker to a special joint session of the assembly which had convened to impeach Mugabe, 93, who has dominated every aspect of Zimbabwean public life since independence in 1980. / AFP PHOTO / Jekesai NJIKIZANA (Photo credit should read JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Zimbabwe's members of parliament celebrate after Mugabe's resignation on November 21, 2017 in Harare. Robert Mugabe resigned as president of Zimbabwe on November 21, 2017 swept from power as his 37-year reign of brutality and autocratic control crumbled within days of a military takeover. The bombshell news was delivered by the parliament speaker to a special joint session of the assembly which had convened to impeach Mugabe, 93, who has dominated every aspect of Zimbabwean public life since independence in 1980. / AFP PHOTO / Jekesai NJIKIZANA (Photo credit should read JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Zimbabwe's members of parliament celebrate after Mugabe's resignation on November 21, 2017 in Harare. Robert Mugabe resigned as president of Zimbabwe on November 21, 2017 swept from power as his 37-year reign of brutality and autocratic control crumbled within days of a military takeover. The bombshell news was delivered by the parliament speaker to a special joint session of the assembly which had convened to impeach Mugabe, 93, who has dominated every aspect of Zimbabwean public life since independence in 1980. / AFP PHOTO / Jekesai NJIKIZANA (Photo credit should read JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)
People celebrate with Zimbabwe Defence Force soldiers in the streets of Harare, after the resignation of Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe on November 21, 2017. The bombshell announcement sparks scenes of wild celebration in the streets of Harare, with car horns honking and crowds dancing and cheering over the departure of the autocrat who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence. / AFP PHOTO / Tony KARUMBA (Photo credit should read TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)
People celebrate in the streets of Harare, after the resignation of Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe on November 21, 2017. The bombshell announcement sparks scenes of wild celebration in the streets of Harare, with car horns honking and crowds dancing and cheering over the departure of the autocrat who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence. / AFP PHOTO / Tony KARUMBA (Photo credit should read TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)
People celebrate in the streets of Harare, after the resignation of Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe on November 21, 2017. The bombshell announcement sparks scenes of wild celebration in the streets of Harare, with car horns honking and crowds dancing and cheering over the departure of the autocrat who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence. / AFP PHOTO / Tony KARUMBA (Photo credit should read TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)
Zimbabweans celebrate after President Robert Mugabe resigns in Harare, Zimbabwe November 21, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Zimbabweans celebrate after President Robert Mugabe resigns in Harare, Zimbabwe November 21, 2017. REUTERS/Marius Bosch
Zimbabweans celebrate after President Robert Mugabe resigns in Harare, Zimbabwe November 21, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
Zimbabweans celebrate after President Robert Mugabe resigns in Harare, Zimbabwe November 21, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
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Some held posters of Mnangagwa, whose sacking this month triggered the military takeover that forced Mugabe out, and of army chief General Constantino Chiwenga.

Despite the outpouring of joy on the streets, his downfall was as much the result of in-fighting among the political elite as a popular uprising, although thousands of people rallied against him in the days after the army intervened last week.

ZANU-PF chief whip Lovemore Matuke told Reuters that Mnangagwa would be sworn in within 48 hours and that he would serve the remainder of Mugabe's term until the next general election, which must be held by September 2018.


28 PHOTOS
People of Zimbabwe celebration dismissal of Robert Mugabe
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People of Zimbabwe celebration dismissal of Robert Mugabe
Residents attend a prayer meeting called to celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader of the ruling ZANU-PF's central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 19, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Residents attend a prayer meeting called to celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader of the ruling ZANU-PF's central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 19, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Residents attend a prayer meeting called to celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader of the ruling ZANU-PF's central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 19, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Pastor Evan Mawarire, leader of the #ThisFlag movement, addresses a prayer meeting called to celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader at an extraordinary meeting of the ruling ZANU-PF's central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 19, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Residents attend a prayer meeting called to celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader of the ruling ZANU-PF's central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 19, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Delegates celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader at an extraordinary meeting of the ruling ZANU-PF's central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 19, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Delegates celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader at an extraordinary meeting of the ruling ZANU-PF's central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 19, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Delegates celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader at an extraordinary meeting of the ruling ZANU-PF's central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe November 19, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Delegates celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader at an extraordinary meeting of the ruling ZANU-PF's central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe November 19, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
People walk past torn billboards of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) in Harare, Zimbabwe November 19, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down cheer in front of a military vehicle in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down gather outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, next to the Zimbabwe Tourist Information Centre in central London, Britain November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mary Turner
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down gather outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, next to the Zimbabwe Tourist Information Centre in central London, Britain November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mary Turner
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down gather outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, next to the Zimbabwe Tourist Information Centre in central London, Britain November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mary Turner
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down gather outside the Zimbabwe Tourist Information Centre in central London, Britain November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mary Turner
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down gather outside the Zimbabwe Tourist Information Centre in central London, Britain November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mary Turner
A man calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down protests in Harare, Zimbabwe November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down take to the streets in Harare, Zimbabwe November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down take to the streets in Harare, Zimbabwe November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Protesters march calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down in Cape Town, South Africa, November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down take to the streets in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down take to the streets in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo TEMPLATE OUT
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down march in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down take to the streets in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down take to the streets in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Protesters gather calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down, in Harare, Zimbabwe November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
A man carries a poster calling for Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe to step down as Zimbabweans take to the streets in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
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