Zimbabwe grants Mugabe immunity
Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s ex president has been granted immunity from prosecution, according to Reuters.
Reuters reports that sources involved in the negotiations said the former leader was assured that his safety would be protected in his town as part of a deal that led to his resignation .
Robert Mugabe resigned as Zimbabwe’s president, the head of parliament said on Tuesday before which the venue erupted in applause and cheers, illustrating the extraordinary political end of the longest-serving head of state in the world.
The parliament had begun the process to remove Mugabe, but the head of the legislature suspended the negotiations after announcing that he had received a letter from Mugabe informing him of his resignation “effective immediately.”
The parliament had begun the process with the support of both the ruling party and the opposition, and the newly dismissed vice president warned that the head of state should recognize “the insatiable desire” for change and immediately resign.
The ruling party presented a motion to challenge the president, and the MDC opposition party seconded.
The legislators of both houses of Parliament moved before to a greater enclosure. The ruling ZANU-PF party had said it could dismiss the president on Wednesday.
Mugabe must recognize the country’s “insatiable desire” for a change of leadership and resign immediately, said the deposed vice president and probable successor of the 93-year-old president, as the impeachment process of the world’s oldest chief of state began.
The statements of Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was dismissed earlier this month, added to the enormous pressure on Mugabe to resign after nearly four decades in power, in which he went from being a champion of the struggle against the government of the white minority to that he was held responsible for the collapse of the economy, the dysfunction of the government and the infractions of human rights.
ZANU-PF initiated the process of challenging Mugabe, after its Central Committee voted to dismiss the leader of the formation and chose Mnangagwa instead. This decision could allow the former vice president to assume the leadership of the state. Mnangagwa was for decades the manager of the strong hand in the government of Mugabe, with a reputation as cunning and ruthless, more feared than popular.
“The people of Zimbabwe have spoken with one voice and it is my request to President Mugabe to abide by this historic call and resign immediately so that the country can move forward and preserve its legacy,” Mnangagwa said in his statement.
The former vice president, who fled the country and has not shown himself in public during the crisis last week, said he has been invited to return by Mugabe “for a conversation” about recent events, but will not return for now, claiming that at the time of his dismissal there were plans under way to kill him.
“I will return as soon as conditions for security and stability exist,” said Mnangagwa, who has a large base of support in the Army. “The nation should never again be kidnapped by a person whose desire is to die in office at any price to the nation.”
The controversial first lady of Zimbabwe, Grace Mugabe, was positioning herself to succeed her husband, leading a faction of the party that resulted in the dismissal of Mnangagwa.
The prospect of a dynastic succession alarmed the Army, which last week confined Mugabe to his home and persecuted what he described as “delinquents” in his circle allegedly looting government resources, a reference to people close to the first lady.
The United States imposed sanctions on Mnangagwa in the early 2000s for undermining democratic development in Zimbabwe, according to the Atlantic Council, a study center based in the United States. However, J. Peter Pham, the council’s Africa expert, noted that some members of the Zimbabwean opposition seem willing to talk to the former vice president to take the country forward, and that the international community should consider doing the same.
“We do not say that they cover up the past, but it is in everyone’s interest that Zimbabwe is engaged at this key moment,” Pham said in a statement.
Large crowds have taken to the streets of the capital, Harare, to demand the resignation of Mugabe.