Mugabe 'resigns' as president

Ousted Zimbabwe deputy president asks Mugabe to resign

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has resigned after 37 years of autocratic rule, finally succumbing to the pressure of a military takeover and the humiliation of impeachment.

On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people flooded the streets of Harare, singing, dancing and hugging soldiers in an outpouring of elation at Mugabe's expected overthrow.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe delivers a speech during a ZANU-PF youth interface Rally in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, on November 4.

Emmerson Mnangagwa fled Zimbabwe after Mr Mugabe stripped him of his position, seen by many as a way clearing the way for his wife to succeed him as leader. It is expected that Mutsvangwa will head the interim government until the next elections in 2018.

Meanwhile, the man himself remained under house arrest in his lavish "Blue Roof" compound, watching the support from his party, security services and people evaporate.

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Mnangagwa was initially believed to be in South Africa.

Zhuwao, who was also sanctioned by ZANU-PF, did not answer his phone on Sunday.

It was not clear who would take over from Mugabe. "ZANU-PF is nothing without President Mugabe".

He has presided over a deepening economic crisis in Zimbabwe, where people are on average 15% poorer now than they were in 1980.

More than 3 million Zimbabweans - around 20 percent of the population - have emigrated to neighboring South Africa in search of a better life.

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The crowds in Harare have so far given a quasi-democratic veneer to the army's intervention, backing its assertion that it is merely effecting a constitutional transfer of power, which would help it avoid the diplomatic backlash and opprobrium that normally follow a coup.

However, Tsvangirai stressed that is not enough to simply remove Mugabe as president without changing the whole "system and culture" of the ruling Zanu-PF.

Some African leaders have condemned the military takeover in Zimbabwe as an undemocratic coup.

Mnangagwa said he had rejected an invitation by Mugabe to return home to discuss the current political situation.

A senior member of ZANU-PF earlier told Reuters the party wanted their long-time president gone.

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Maimane said Mugabe must step down immediately and Zimbabwe should go to the polls to elect a new government.

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