According to some members of his inner circle, Mugabe shed tears and grieved over what he called betrayal by his lieutenants as he finally agreed to step down from his presidential seat last Tuesday.
“After a four-hour long meeting, Mugabe was adamant that he would not step down,” The Standard reported quoting a source on condition of anonymity. “He was prepared to die for his seat. He looked down, looked at his wife, took a deep breath and said ‘so this is what they have decided,’” the source added.
Attorney-general Prince Machaya and former Justice Minister Happyton Bonyongwe had advised Mugabe that his options were fast running out. They reportedly added that the impeachment process would be fast-tracked.
According to the source, Mugabe “looked down and said ‘people were chameleons, [name of the senior Zanu PF official withheld] of all the people to do this to me. After all I have done to protect him, corruption issues raised against him and I have stood with him,” The Standard reported.
The chief negotiator, Father Fidelis Mukonori, family friend and former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono, Bonyongwe as leader of the House were all by Mugabe’s side trying to find ways to avoid an embarrassing exit for the president, according to the source.
“It was a heart-rending moment, especially for Mukonori who could not hold back his tears,” another source revealed.
According to the source when the letter was drafted Mugabe read it before appending his signature.
Another source said Mugabe felt betrayed by his own people whom he had groomed and taken care of.
“While he agreed that issues were not well in the party, he was of a firm belief that there was a better way to solve the crisis,” the source added.
Recalling Mugabe’s final words before stepping down, the source added, “He said ‘well, they have done this, I hope it ends with me’, before he put his rosary back into his pocket.”
Last week, 93-year-old Mugabe, who had served both as president and prime minister for over 30 years, and his guards were confined to his house by soldiers. The country's ruling party, Zimbabwean African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF), dismissed Mugabe from his post as party leader and called on him to resign from the presidency. On Tuesday, the Zimbabwean parliament approved Mugabe's impeachment, after which the leader stepped down.