Zimbabwe's former vice-president, Mnangagwa whose dismissal led to the resignation of long-time leader Robert Mugabe, will be sworn in as the new president on Friday, the state broadcaster says.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, who fled to South Africa two weeks ago, would also fly home on Wednesday, it added.

His dismissal led the ruling party and the military to intervene and force an end to Mugabe's 37-year long rule.

The news sparked wild celebrations across the country late into the night.

The announcement that the 93-year-old was stepping down came in the form of a letter read out in parliament on Wednesday, abruptly halting impeachment proceedings against him.

In it, Mugabe said he was resigning to allow a smooth and peaceful transfer of power, and that his decision was voluntary.

A spokesman for the ruling Zanu-PF party said that Mnangagwa, 71, would serve the remainder of Mugabe's term until elections, which are due to take place by September 2018.

The state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) confirmed that his swearing-in ceremony had been scheduled for Friday.

Nicknamed the "crocodile" due to his political cunning, Mnangagwa issued a statement from exile calling on Zimbabweans to unite to rebuild the country.

"Together, we will ensure a peaceful transition to the consolidation of our democracy, and bring in a fresh start for all Zimbabweans and foster peace and unity," Mnangagwa told Zimbabwe's Newsday on Tuesday.

Credit: BBC