Emmerson Mnangagwa has been sworn in as Zimbabwe’s president on Friday, 24th November,2017 as he succeeded ousted Robert Mugabe marking the final chapter of a political drama that toppled his predecessor Robert Mugabe after a military takeover.
Thousands of Zimbabweans gathered at a stadium in Harare to witness the sworn in of Emmerson Mnangagwa as Zimbabwe’s president
Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa swear that as the president of the republic of Zimbabwe I will be faithful to Zimbabwe and obey, uphold and defend the constitution and all other laws of Zimbabwe,” he said as he took the oath of office before the chief justice.
He then received the chain and sash of office, and took salutes and pledges of allegiance from the country’s military and security chiefs.
Mnangagwa, 75, had said this week that Zimbabweans were witnessing “a new and unfolding full democracy”, although critics say he is a hardliner in the ruling ZANU-PF who gained power in a de facto military coup.
He is known as “The Crocodile” for his ruthlessness and is accused of overseeing ethnic massacres and political violence.
Born in east Zimbabwe, where relatives remember an “active and confident” boy, he spent 10 years in jail during the struggle, gaining O-levels and A-levels and eventually a law degree, then returned to fighting in the bush.
After independence, he was a stalwart of the Zanu-PF party, which he now leads, and was one of Mugabe’s closest aides, cycling through roles including spymaster and security chief, and administering the well-stocked party coffers before being made vice-president.
He fell out of favour, and was ousted along with supporters from his “lacoste” faction, when his own presidential ambitions crossed those of Mugabe’s wife, Grace.
“Mnangagwa isn’t exactly a fresh face. He’s been with Mugabe since 1976. He was the chief hatchet man for Mugabe on and off for 40 years.
“That’s a fact that hasn’t suddenly become irrelevant,” said historian, Stuart Doran.
Zimbabweans react by saying, We are excited and expecting a lot from Mnangagwa. We have been under a dictatorship for a very long time,” 23-year-old Sharon Mauyakufa said, referring to Mugabe.
The 93-year-old former president, who ruled the southern African country for 37 autocratic years, was ousted when the military intervened after he had sacked Mnangagwa as vice president on November 6.
“We thank you our soldier,” said one banner in the sports ground. “The people have spoken,” said another.
A group of elderly women dressed in blue and white gyrated in time to a big band to wild applause from the crowds ahead of the swearing in.
Snipers had taken up positions around the stadium amid tight security as jubilant Mnangagwa supporters streamed in, many dancing as music played.