Zimbabwe's fired vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa is seen at the Heroes Acre in Harare in this Wednesday, Nov., 1, 2017 photo. Zimbabwe's president said Wednesday he fired his deputy and longtime ally for scheming to take power, including by consulting witch doctors, while Emmerson Mnangagwa said he has left the country after "incessant threats" to him and his family. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Harare - A Zimbabwe ruling party official tells The Associated Press that recently fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa will take over as the country's leader within 48 hours after President Robert Mugabe resigned.

Ruling party chief whip Lovemore Matuke says Mnangagwa, who fled the country after his firing, "is not far from here."

The official spoke to the AP immediately after the Parliament speaker announced Mugabe's immediate resignation during impeachment proceedings.

Matuke says they look forward to Mugabe doing the handover of power "so that Mnangagwa moves with speed to work for the country."

Earlier, Zimbabwe's Parliament erupted in cheers as the speaker announced the resignation of the elderly statesman.

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The speaker stopped impeachment proceedings to say they had received a letter from Mugabe with the resignation "with immediate effect."

It is an extraordinary end for the world's oldest head of state after 37 years in power.

AP