Who will be Zimbabwe's next president?

Thousands poured out into the streets of the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, after Robert Mugabe stood down following days of political turmoil.

The former president ruled the country for nearly 37 years, first as prime minister and later as president, after a career spent leading the struggle for independence from Britain, which saw him both imprisoned and sent into exile. 


While Mugabe’s downfall marks the end of an era for the southern African country, what follows remains unclear.

Who will fill the void left by the veteran leader? Will the military, whose intervention one week ago on November 15, brought about Mugabe’s fall, play an active and visible role in the country’s political scene?

Below we answer some of the most pressing questions:

What’s happening right now?

After the jubilation that followed Mugabe’s resignation, Zimbabweans are returning to their ordinary lives.

Parts of the country remain desperately poor after years of economic mismanagement and corruption under Mugabe’s rule.

Who takes over now that Mugabe is gone?

Interim leader of the ruling ZANU-PF party, former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is due in Harare this afternoon. It is wideley expected he will take over the presidency, but the proceedings are yet to happen.

State media said he would be sworn in as president on Friday.


Mugabe’s falling out with Mnangagwa brought tensions with the military to the fore, and lost the former president the support of some of his core constituencies, including many in his own party.

War veterans, who fought alongside Mugabe during the 1970s struggle for liberation from Britain and spearheaded the repossession of white-owned commercial farms in the 2000s, have long claimed their president has betrayed the revolution. Over the past week, they upped their call for Mugabe to resign.

What happens to Mugabe?

He resigned with immediate effect on November 21, but it’s unclear whether there will be an investigation into some of the allegations against him and his wife former First Lady Grace, who is accused of usurping her husband’s executive powers.

However, though it turned against him, the ruling ZANU-PF has paid tribute to Mugabe for his 40-year leadership of the party.

How are Zimbabweans reacting? 

Most people are jubilant, some are still in a celebratory mood, but there are those whose happiness is tainted by the fear that Mugabe’s government may resurface.  

Wellington Moyo, a 36-year-old news vendor, told Al Jazeera he’s pleased the army has done its job and hopes the promises of “a new Zimbabwe” made to the people will be upheld by those who take over.

“I’m very happy that the will of the people has been heard and the army has done a great job. The bigger part of the job has been done now and I look forward to the new leaders keeping their promises to listen to the people’s wishes,” he said.


“I’m nervous that that system of oppressing might never end, but we as people can never return to that style of Mugabe, it really has to be over”.

How have Zimbabwe’s neighbours and the international community reacted?

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma cancelled a planned visit to Harare in the aftermath of Mugabe’s resignation, but has not provided a reason for doing so.

President Ian Khama of Botswana, a longtime Mugabe critic, was filmed dancing as news of Mugabe’s resignation played in the background. The clip has been circulating on social media, but its authenticity could not immediately be verified by Al Jazeera.

Khama urged Mugabe to step down in an open letter published Tuesday. 

Further afield, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, has issued a message of congratulations and described the event as “a historic moment” for the people of Zimbabwe.