Following the resignation of Robert Mugabe, former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is to lead the country until the 2018 election. Mnangagwa, whose sacking this month prompted the military takeover that forced Mugabe out, returns home today.

Mugabe resigned as president with immediate effect Tuesday after 37 years in power, shortly after parliament began impeachment proceedings against him. November 22, 2017
Mugabe resigned as president with immediate effect Tuesday after 37 years in power, shortly after parliament began impeachment proceedings against him. November 22, 2017 (AP)

Zimbabwe's recently fired vice president is to be sworn in as the country's new leader on Friday, state media said, after Robert Mugabe announced his resignation in the middle of impeachment proceedings against him.

The 93-year-old Mugabe had clung on for a week after the army takeover, with ZANU PF urging him to go. He finally resigned moments after parliament began an impeachment process seen as the only legal way to force him out.

Zimbabweans erupted in response on Tuesday, cheering and dancing in the streets late into the night, thrilled to be rid of a leader whose early promise after the end of white minority rule in 1980 was overtaken by economic collapse, government dysfunction and human rights violations.

TRT World 's Caitlin McGee has more. 

Now the focus turns to Mnangagwa, Mugabe's longtime deputy who was pushed aside earlier this month as unpopular first lady Grace Mugabe positioned herself to replace him and succeed her husband. Mnangagwa fled the country, claiming threats on his life.

That led the military to step in a week ago, opening the door for the ruling party and the people to publicly turn against the president.

It was not clear what the 93-year-old Robert Mugabe and his wife would do next. Mugabe, who was the world's oldest head of state, said in his resignation letter that legal procedures should be followed to install a new president "no later than tomorrow."

"A breath of fresh air"

Zimbabweans woke up to the first day in 37 years without Mugabe in power. 

"I think this change of government is like a new breath of fresh air right across the country," said Patrick Musira on the streets of the capital, Harare. "Everyone was engulfed with excitement, and they are looking for a better future, a brighter future with work."

Zimbabwe's new leaders are faced with a once-prosperous nation whose economy has collapsed, sending well-educated but frustrated young people into desperate work as street vendors. Many have left the country altogether.

"Crocodile"

Mnangagwa is a former justice and defence minister who served for decades as Mugabe's enforcer, a role that earned him the nickname "Crocodile." Many opposition supporters believe he was instrumental in the army killings of thousands of people when Mugabe moved against a political rival in the 1980s.

So far in the current political turmoil, Mnangagwa has used inclusive language, saying in a statement – hours before Mugabe's resignation – that all Zimbabweans should work together to advance their nation.

"Never should the nation be held at ransom by one person ever again, whose desire is to die in office at whatever cost to the nation," Mnangagwa said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies