Former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been sworn in as Zimbabwe’s President, becoming the third President of that country.
Crowds have gathered at the 60 000-seat Zimbabwean National Stadium in the capital Harare to witness the inauguration ceremony.
When Mnangagwa arrived at the stadium, the crowd erupted with shouts and singing, cheering him. A handful of regional leaders have also attended the ceremony, including the leaders of Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia.
After the ceremony, Mnangagwa is expected to announce his cabinet.
He will serve as interim president until late August 2018, when Robert Mugabe’s term was set to expire and after that, the people of Zimbabwe are set to elect their next leader.
Organizers of the ceremony said that it would be a “historic day” for all Zimbabweans.
It was also reported earlier that Mugabe would miss the ceremony because he needs to recover from the recent “hectic events”.
“The former President needed time to rest after the hectic events of the week and a half that has gone by and therefore he may not be attending tomorrow’s inauguration. He extends his good wishes and support to the incoming President,” Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba told a Sputnik news agency correspondent on Thursday.
Meanwhile, South Africa has wished Mnangagwa well as he takes his oath of office today.
However, President Jacob Zuma did not attend the swearing-in ceremony as he is hosting Angola’s President João Manuel Lourenço, who is in the country for a State visit.
Instead, the Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Siyabonga Cwele, is representing South Africa.
“The President has congratulated Mr Mnangagwa and wished him well during their meeting in Pretoria on Wednesday, 22 November, ahead of his return to Harare,” the Presidency said.
President Zuma has also extended his good wishes to former President Robert Mugabe and emphasised that his contribution to the liberation of the Southern African region and the decolonisation of the continent, in general, will always be acknowledged and celebrated.
In early November, Mnangagwa was sacked by Mugabe as his vice president, in a move that led the country’s ruling party, Zimbabwean African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the military to intervene and force Mugabe to step down.
Last week, the country’s military deployed armoured vehicles to the Zimbabwean capital city of Harare, confining Mugabe to his residence. After Mugabe failed to meet the party’s ultimatum to resign, it decided to begin impeachment proceedings, with the Zimbabwean parliament’s speaker announcing Mugabe’s resignation on Tuesday.
In his letter read out by the parliament’s speaker, Mugabe said he was resigning to allow a peaceful transition and that his decision was voluntary. The news sparked a wave of celebrations across the country. – SAnews.gov.za-Sputnik