'The Crocodile' Will Replace World's Oldest Head of State
Zimbabwe's Mugabe resigns, recently fired VP Emmerson Mnangagwa will take his place
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 21, 2017 10:12 AM CST
Updated Nov 21, 2017 12:37 PM CST
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In this March 27, 2008, file photo Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, left, and his wife Grace, right, react during a visit to a hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe.   (AP Photo, File)

(Newser) – Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe says he is resigning immediately and voluntarily in order to have a "smooth transfer of power" after 37 years in charge. The news came via a letter that was read out to a cheering, dancing parliament, which had been pursuing impeachment of the 93-year-old Mugabe, the world's oldest head of state, reports the AP. How big a deal is this? CNN provides context: Zimbabwe got its independence from Britain in 1980, and Mugabe has been the only ruler the people have had that entire time; he had vowed to rule until his death. USA Today reports that citizens put photos of Mugabe in the street to be run over by cars. More:

  • Background: The resignation comes at the end of a week of extraordinary events that began with the military moving in last week, angered by Mugabe's firing of his longtime deputy and the positioning of the unpopular first lady to succeed him. Impeachment allegations against Mugabe included that he "allowed his wife to usurp constitutional power" and that he is "of advanced age" and too incapacitated to rule. Mugabe also was accused of allowing first lady Grace Mugabe to threaten to kill the recently fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and other officials.

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