A group of eminent global leaders known as the Elders have waded into the resignation of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe.
In a tweet issued hours after the 93-year-old’s resignation, the Elders said the southern African country now had an opportunity to chart a new national course going forward.
“Mugabe’s resignation offers a huge chance for the people of Zimbabwe to chart a new course towards a peaceful, prosperous & inclusive future,” they said.
They urged all leaders to heed the advice of former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan who on Monday said “All of the country’s leaders must put the interest of the nation first and work together”.
The Elders had in August last year stated that Zimbabwe was in a period of transition tasking the regional bloc, SADC, to play a key role in the process.
“We firmly believe that a successful transition is vital not only for Zimbabwe but also for the region […] we are also convinced that, if the transition process is to succeed, it must be inclusive, transparent and framed in the national interest,” the Elders said at the time.
Mugabe resigned as president after 37 years in charge of the country. He spent seven years as Prime Minister immediately after independence in 1980 and has been president for 30 years thereafter.
The firing of his immediate past vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, led the army to intervene in what they said were illegal purges in the ruling ZANU-PF. Mugabe resisted pressure to resign till today, exactly a week after the army stepped in.
Who are ‘The Elders’
According to their official website, ‘The Elders’ are an independent group of global leaders working together for peace and human rights.
The group was founded by iconic anti-Apartheid leader and former South African President Nelson Mandela, they represent an independent voice, not bound by the interests of any nation, government or institution.
It is currently Chaired by Kofi Annan, with Gro Harlem Brundtland, the first woman Prime Minister of Norway as Deputy Chair of The Elders, other distinguished members include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, Lakhdar Brahimi, Mary Robinson, Graça Machel amongst others.