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Zimbabweans on Tuesday said the resignation of Robert Mugabe was a promising step in rebuilding the country and their lives.
Ecstatic citizens took to the streets to celebrate, chanting “rest in peace” and shouting “it’s a new Zimbabwe”, after the speaker of Parliament confirmed that Mugabe, 93, had resigned after nearly four decades in power.
At the Rainbow Towers Hotel, where Parliamentarians had gathered, someone tore down his portrait to loud cheers.
The crowd then stepped on it.
Harare resident Charles Kamba, 27, said he did not have the words to describe how happy he was.
“This is more like Zimbabwe’s independence. We’re all so hopeful of rebuilding this country now that Mugabe is out,” he said.
Kamba was born under Mugabe’s reign and did not think he would ever see the end of it.
“I’m so happy it’s over now. Now we can work together and this country can be great,” he said.
Pardon Rashai, 34, who has been unemployed for years, said he hoped the country’s economy could be restored as soon as possible.
“I am degreed, but there are no jobs for us. I’ve been struggling, but I’m really hoping this can be a new beginning.”
Patience Mpofu, 30, said she never thought this day would come.
“I’m so glad Mugabe is out, but we know it’s not the solution. It’s just a step in the right direction,” she added.
Mpofu said she was struck by how people started talking out without fear.
“Years ago, we would’ve been arrested if we gathered like people did outside parliament and spoke out against the regime. I was so happy to see that.”
A mother of four children, she was hopeful they would have a better future.
“Look, we’re not expecting that things will be better tomorrow or that the cash crisis will be fixed come Monday, but this is a step in the right direction.”