Robert Mugabe steps down as Zimbabwe's leader after 37 years: A look at how world leaders reacted

Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe, who once vowed to rule for life, resigned on Tuesday, succumbing to a week of overwhelming pressure from the military that put him under house arrest, lawmakers from the ruling party and Opposition who started impeachment proceedings, and a population that surged into the streets to say 37 years in power was enough.

The capital, Harare, erupted in jubilation after news spread that the 93-year-old leader's resignation letter had been read out by the Speaker of Parliament, whose members had gathered to impeach Mugabe after he ignored escalating calls to quit since a military takeover.

The resignation of the world's oldest head of state resonated across the international community, with many world leaders and governments reacting swiftly to the political happenings in Harare. Here are some of those reactions:

Alpha Conde, President of Guinea

Conde, who is also the president of the African Union (AU), said he was delighted that the political impasse in Zimbabwe had been resolved, according to Africa News. However, he expressed concern over the manner in which Mugabe had to relinquish power.

"It is a shame that he is leaving through the back door and that he is forsaken by the parliament," Conde said, according to the report. About the military takeover which happened a week ago, Conde mentioned that it "resembled a coup" even though the military insisted it was not.

John Dramani Mahama, former president of Ghana

Calling Mugabe a patriot and a great "pan Africanist", Mahama said the resignation was a sad end for a liberation hero.

South African political parties

The Democratic Alliance, South Africa's most prominent opposition party, called Mugabe's resignation "a victory for the people of Zimbabwe", adding that the resignation is only the first step towards a new beginning for Zimbabwe, News24 reported. "The story of Robert Mugabe is not a unique one and is all too familiar on our continent. A once liberator of his people, Mugabe brought division, instability, and economic ruin to Zimbabwe as he made the unfortunate transition from liberator to dictator," a party official said. The Economic Freedom Fighters, through a statement, said, "This is a perfect outcome for peace and stability in Zimbabwe, which will allow Zimbabweans to define a post-Mugabe era," according to the report.

Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General

Guterres encouraged Zimbabweans to "maintain calm and restraint" after the announcement was made, Al Jazeera reported. Guterres' spokesman Farhan Haq said "the secretary-general and his predecessors have made clear that we expect all leaders to listen to their people. "That is a cornerstone of every form of government and needs to be followed in every continent and in every nation," he said.

Theresa May, Prime Minister of UK

May hailed the resignation on Tuesday as an "opportunity to forge a new path", and promised that Britain would help as "Zimbabwe's oldest friend", as the country emerges from 37-years of the regime, Daily Mail reported. According to the report, May said, "The resignation of Robert Mugabe provides Zimbabwe with an opportunity to forge a new path free of the oppression that characterised his rule. In recent days, we have seen the desire of the Zimbabwean people for free and fair elections and the opportunity to rebuild the country's economy under a legitimate government.

Boris Johnson, Foreign Minister of UK

Johnson tweeted to say that he does not regret Mugabe's downfall, calling the resignation "a moment of hope for the people of Zimbabwe". 

United States embassy in Zimbabwe

Saying Tuesday marked a historic moment for Zimbabwe, the US Department of State, through a statement, congratulated Zimbabweans "who raised their voices and stated peacefully and clearly that the time for change was overdue".

"As Secretary (Rex) Tillerson recently stated, Zimbabwe has an historic opportunity to set itself on a new path. Through that process, the United States urges unwavering respect for the rule of law and for established democratic practices. Whatever short-term arrangements the government may establish, the path forward must lead to free, fair, and inclusive elections, in which the people of Zimbabwe, free to assemble peacefully without undue interference and to voice their opinions without fear, choose their own leaders," the statement said.

Ted Cruz, American senator

Ted Cruz took to Twitter to celebrate Mugabe's resignation, and said that "Zimbabweans deserve true reform, justice, and free & fair elections."

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Updated Date: Nov 22, 2017 08:32:53 IST