Cautious hope for Zimbabwe's future as Mugabe quits

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

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PARIS, France (AFP) — The resignation of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was greeted by hopes of better times for the nation's people, in early reactions from the international community yesterday.

No one voiced regret at his removal. Below are some of the comments made after the 93-year-old African leader stood down.

Britain

The former colonial ruler greeted news of Mugabe's departure with an offer of support as “Zimbabwe's oldest friend”.

Prime Minister Theresa 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.”

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: “I will not pretend to regret Mugabe's downfall: but this can now be a turning point, a moment of hope for this beautiful country, full of potential.”

United States

The US had been calling on all sides to show restraint.

A US State Department spokeswoman called it “a historic opportunity, a historic moment for the people of Zimbabwe... to put an end to Zimbabwe isolation” adding that “the future of Zimbabwe will have to be decided by the people of Zimbabwe”.

The US embassy in Harare said: “Whatever short-term arrangements the Government may establish, the path forward must lead to free, fair and inclusive elections.”

France

France called for a peaceful transfer of power.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said: “We welcome this decision (by Mugabe) which must open the way for a peaceful political transition, respecting the legitimate aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe.”

Zimbabwe Opposition

The main Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party had been seeking cooperation with other groups to ensure the necessary votes to impeach Mugabe.

MDC chief whip Innocent Gonese said: “The man had run out of options. The writing was on the wall... He was in a state of denial.”

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