Politicians and political parties react to Mugabe's fall
As Zimbabweans at home and around the world take to the streets in euphoria to celebrate the end of a dictator, political parties and their leaders both internationally and in South Africa have begun to share their thoughts on former President Robert Mugabe’s resignation.
Saviour Kasukuwere, former Zimbabwean minister
Moments before Mugabe’s resignation was announced in Parliament, his long time supporter in Zanu-PF Saviour Kasukuwere tweeted the news out.
“Addios Baba. 37 yrs of a good run.
Let’s embrace he new dispensation and build our nation.
Unity is strength and peace are prerequisites for progress,” Kasukuwere wrote.
Kasukuwere has taken up numerous ministerial positions in the Zimbabwean government since 2009. His last appointment was as minister of local government. He stepped down in October 2017, but he was known to be close to Robert and Grace Mugabe, going as far as ousting the latter’s critics as she rallied to become her husband’s successor.
UK prime minister
Despite British colonialism of Zimbabwe and the sore history that has remained as a result, UK Prime Minister Theresa May released a statement in response to Mugabe’s resignation, describing her country as an old “friend” to Zimbabwe.
“As Zimbabwe’s oldest friend we will do all we can to support this, working with our international and regional partners to help the country achieve the brighter future it so deserves,” May said.
“The resignation of Robert Mugabe provides Zimbabwe with an opportunity to forge a new path free of the oppression that characterised his rule. In recent days we have seen the desire of the Zimbabwean people for free and fair elections and the opportunity to rebuild the country’s economy under a legitimate government,” she continued in the short statement.
Economic Freedom Fighters
The EFF released a statement saying it “welcomes and celebrates” Mugabe’s resignation. The party has been criticised in recent days for declaring that South Africa should grant asylum to Mugabe. It has now urged Zimbabweans to remain committed to land reform policies that were part of Mugabe’s liberation battle.
“We call on Zimbabweans never to undo the land program or return the land to the white settler communities. This is one legacy of President Mugabe that must be advanced and protected at all costs. We say this because we know that some celebrate the resignation of President Mugabe with the hope that this important revolutionary gain will be undermined. It is the obligation of all pan-Africanist to protect all the gains of decolonization in Zimbabwe,” the EFF said.
The party said it was “proud” of Zimbabweans because there was no bloodshed in the military takeover and that Mugabe’s resignation marked a “story of self-determination” by Zimbabwean people.
In a statement, the DA said that while Mugabe’s resignation is a “first step” to a new start for Zimbabwe, Zanu-PF’s likelihood of remaining on power could hinder progress in the country.
“ZANU-PF is complicit in each and every ill committed by the Mugabe regime, and as such cannot be trusted to bring a new beginning to Zimbabwe. History has taught us that failed liberation movements cannot and will not self-correct. The solution has to come from outside these movements,” DA leader Mmusi Maimane said in a statement.
While many Zimbabweans have remained adamant that there should be no outside influence into the current political talks and negotiations in the country, Maimane has called on Southern African Development Community (SADC) to intervene.
“We call on the SADC to take the lead in ensuring an interim government is put in place, and that elections are held as soon as possible,” he said.
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T)
Tsvangirai has faced death threats, assassination attempts, arrests and beatings for his opposition to Mugabe. The MDC-T leader has recently been weakened by poor health as he battles cancer. But he is also rumoured to be part of the new leadership or transitional government, which is set to include Emmerson Mnangagwa, that will succeed Mugabe. He reacted to his long-time rival’s resignation, saying he hoped that it marked the end of “Mugabe culture” in Zimbabwe.
“If we have to correct the past, the principals - myself, and him [Mnangagwa] and others - have to sit down and redefine a new chapter,” Tsvangirai told BBC.
Tsvangirai did not say if he would be part of the new leadership in Zimbabwe, but remained adamant that a democratic election must take place in the country.
“My hope and wish is that we are able to craft a transitional framework for the next elections which are able to put in place reforms, the issue of free and fair elections as per the constitution, and we have to extend this time frame it has to be through consensus,” he said.
Zimbabwe Communist Party
As one of the opposition parties in Zimbabwe, the ZCP described Mugabe’s resignation as a “victory to the people”. The party does not have the same popularity as Mnangagwa or even opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party (MDC-T). The ZCP said, however, that it applauds all opposition parties who have taken a stand against Mugabe and that his resignation will make a mark on the entire African continent.
Iit is really a test to our democracy. It is a test to other liberation movements to say to what extent can one want to stay in power?,” Ngqabutho Mabhena, ZCP general secretary, told eNCA.