Former President Robert Mugabe understood it was "the end of the road" for his nearly four-decade rule of Zimbabwe when he signed his resignation letter last week, said Father Fidelis Mukonori, a Catholic priest who helped mediate Mugabe's exit. Mukonori, who has known Mugabe for years, spoke to The Associated Press for a report published Sunday about Mugabe's final moments in office.
In another interview with the BBC, Mukonori described Mugabe, 93, taking an "elder statesman" role moving forward. "In the African world, senior citizens are there for advice," he said, adding that Mugabe's successor, former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, calls Mugabe "his father, from his mentor, from his leader" despite their past differences.
Mukonori also told the BBC Mugabe "resigned for the good of Zimbabwe," contrary to reports of a multi-million dollar payoff. "What I have read in the newspapers is about immunity [from prosecution]," he added, "and that he will be looked after like any other former head of state."
Mugabe was widely considered a dictator, and his government stood accused of gross human rights violations. His resignation came after major protests supported by the Zimbabwean military as well as his own ruling party. Read The Week's Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry on why Zimbabwe's next dictator could be even worse.