Belfast Telegraph

Mugabe resignation 'first day in Zimbabwe future,' says Belfast councillor born in African country

Robert Mugabe's resignation as President of Zimbabwe represents the first day of its future, a Belfast councillor born in the country has said.

On Tuesday the 93-year-old relinquished his grip on power after 37 years. His resignation letter was read out by the speaker of parliament, whose members had gathered to impeach Mr Mugabe after he ignored escalating calls to quit since a military takeover.

Cars honked and people danced and sang across the city in a spectacle of free expression that would have been impossible during his rule. "Welcome to the new Zimbabwe," people chanted outside a conference centre where the politicians met.

Belfast City Councillor Kate Nicholl was born in the country. At the age of 13, she and her family left in 2000 to return to her father's native Northern Ireland over fears for their safety.

She said she was delighted to see the end of the Mugabe presidency.

“Under Robert Mugabe’s 37-year presidency, he went from respected freedom fighter to brutal dictator where Zimbabwe saw corruption, economic failure, abuse of power and violence,” she said.

“The future holds many problems - you cannot fix an economy overnight and the man expected to replace Mugabe, former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa, lacks democratic credentials.

“The questions about what happens next rightly need to be asked, but that's for tomorrow. Today is the first day of the future of Zimbabwe and is all about celebrating the hope of a new and peaceful country.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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