The African Union has welcomed Robert Mugabe’s decision to step down as president of Zimbabwe, saying the people had expressed their will for a “peaceful transfer of power.”
Despite the military intervention, the AU did not characterise Mugabe’s ouster as a coup, but rather a legitimate expression of the will of Zimbabweans.
“President Mugabe will be remembered as a fearless pan-Africanist liberation fighter, and the father of the independent Zimbabwean nation. Today’s decision will go down in history as an act of statesmanship that can only bolster President Mugabe’s political legacy.
“The African Union recognizes that the Zimbabwean people have expressed their will that there should be a peaceful transfer of power in a manner that secures the democratic future of their country. President Mugabe’s decision to resign paves the way for a transition process, owned and led by the sovereign people of Zimbabwe.
“Throughout the years, the people of Zimbabwe have demonstrated remarkable resilience and resourcefulness, and commitment to their country. The Chairperson of the Commission is confident that they, together with all their leaders, will remain steadfast in their commitment to fulfill their legitimate aspirations,” the statement read in part.
After dominating nearly every aspect of Zimbabwean public life for decades, the 93-year-old’s tenure on Tuesday ended in an announcement at a special joint session of Parliament where MPs had convened to impeach Mugabe after the ruling party sacked him as their leader earlier this week.
Mugabe is to be replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the former ousted vice president.