|Former President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe and wife Grace|
Mukonori, a Jesuit priest who is a close Mugabe friend, debunked a report that Mugabe cried and lamented the betrayal by close lieutenants when he agreed to resign.
“When he finished his signature his face just glowed, no weeping unless there were angels weeping somewhere,” Mukonori told Reuters after mass at the Chishawasha Catholic mission just outside the capital Harare.
“For me it was a sign that he was accepting that ‘ah this is done’, he is relieved, not that he is aggrieved but relieved.”
He said Mugabe realized it was the end of the road two days before he resigned, when he saw 60,000 Zimbabweans protesting and demanding he quit at the Harare grounds where he was inaugurated as prime minister in 1980.
His signed resignation letter was read out on Tuesday, as parliament heard a motion to impeach him.
Sources have told Reuters Mugabe was defiant when he met army top brass on Nov. 16 – which was the start of an extraordinary five-day standoff between Mugabe and Zimbabwe’s supreme law on one side, and the military who had seized power, his party and Zimbabwe’s people on the other.
The 93-year-old president finally accepted defeat only after he was sacked by his ZANU-PF party and faced the ignominy of impeachment.
Mugabe’s fall after 37 years in power was spurred by a battle to succeed him that pitted his former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had stood by him for 52 years, and Mugabe’s wife Grace, who is 52.
Mnangagwa was sworn in as president on Friday and all eyes now are on whether he will name a broad-based government or select figures from Mugabe’s era.
Mukonori said Mugabe had wanted a gradual and smooth transition of power to Mnangagwa, whom he had fired as vice president two weeks ago, but this was thwarted after Mnangagwa failed to immediately return from exile in South Africa.
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