A surprise tweet - and Mugabe was gone

2017-11-21 19:49 - Memory Mataranyika
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Protesters step on a poster of Robert Mugabe. (Ben Curtis, AP)


Harare - It probably was Saviour Kasukuwere, the ousted former Zimbabwe minister and political commissar in former president Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party who broke the news of Mugabe’s resignation.

His tweet at 17:16 on Tuesday was simple, but telling.

Many had believed that Kasukuwere had been arrested as part of a crackdown by the military on a group of younger generation politicians that were propping up first lady Grace Mugabe to take over from the country's aged leader.

Tweeting under the @Hon_Kasukuwere, the Mount Darwin legislature and, who was pivotal in the ousting of those opposed to Grace Mugabe’s ascendancy, said:

Comments poured in, some shocked that he was tweeting amid social media reports that he had been arrested and locked in a cell at the military's head office. 

Earlier in the day, a picture of Kasukuwere in a plane had circulated, but some dismissed it as fake news.

But shortly before, at 18:10 on Tuesday, the speaker of parliament Jacob Mudenda stopped proceedings at the Harare International Conference Centre where senate and the house of assembly were sitting to start impeachment proceedings against the 93-year-old leader.

He read a resignation letter from Mugabe. And this was it; the end of an era and the end of a man Zimbabwe has known as its only ruler since independence from Britain in 1980.

Amid the jubilation and celebrations, Jonathan Moyo, another loyalist and close ally of Grace Mugabe, tweeted:

Meanwhile, Zimbabweans continue to debate the whereabouts of politicians that were propping up Grace to take over from her husband as parliament sat to impeach Mugabe.

Some say most of them, including former finance minister, Ignatius Chombo, had been arrested by the army. Others, such as Foreign Minister Walter Mzembi, are sdaid to have fled the country.

Wherever they are, Tuesday will be remembered in Zimbabwe's history as the day on which Mugabe resigned.

What happens to the likes of Moyo and Kasukuwere remains to be seen although some experts say Mugabe would have negotiated for their safety as part of the deal for him to quit.

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