NEWS

Okay, So Mugabe Is Gone -- But What Now?

21/11/2017 11:15 PM IST | Updated 21/11/2017 11:15 PM IST
JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images
People remove, from the wall at the International Conference centre, where parliament had their sitting, the portrait of former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe after his resignation on November 21, 2017 in Harare.

Now that Robert Mugabe has resigned as president of Zimbabwe, the country will have to plan towards affecting a smooth, transitional process in establishing a new leadership.

Mugabe, the country's authoritarian president for 37 years, agreed to step down on Tuesday -- a week after Zimbabwe's military seized power by taking control of the state television network, surrounding government buildings and detaining Mugabe at his home.

His resignation came via a letter to parliament while impeachment proceedings against him were underway.

ZINYANGE AUNTONY via Getty Images
People celebrate in the streets of Harare, after the resignation of Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe on November 21, 2017.

With Mugabe now out of office, Institute for Security Studies senior research consultant Liesel Louw-Vaudran said the country faces a "tricky process" to ensure stability.

She said Mugabe had his back against the wall with little to no alternative but to step down.

"I hear people say [Emmerson Mnangagwa] is now president, but in fact he is president of Zanu-PF [the governing party]. According to the constitution, when the president resigns, the deputy takes his place for a period of 90 days," Louw-Vaudran said.

"But civil society organisations and political institutions may be able to convince Zanu-PF to implement a transitional government. According to the constitution, there will be elections but there is no guarantee that they will be free and fair."

TONY KARUMBA via 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.

Speaking about Mugabe's wife, Grace, whom he had pegged to take over the reins, Louw-Vaudran said it would be wise for Grace to "keep her head down".

"There is a lot of anger and animosity directed towards her," she said.

She said the army remains in a "strong position" now that Mugabe has been ousted.

"They [the army] does not need to continue with their seizure unless they are worried of some kind of resistance from pro-Mugabe supporters... It's going to be a tricky process to make sure there is stability in the [political] transition," Louw-Vaudran said.

"Mnangagwa presented an economic reform plan to the international community. Although he has a bad reputation of being a military strongman, he was putting a plan on the table. I presume that will be the consensus now."

More On This Topic