Erstwhile Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa was on Friday sworn in as new President of Zimbabwe following Tuesday’s forced exit of long-term president, Robert Mugabe that ended an almost four decades of dictatorship.
The last time the southern African country witnessed such a ceremony was in 1980 when Mugabe came in with lots of fanfare and expectations.
Mnangagwa, whose sacking from the vice president position this month brought Zimbabwe’s political crisis to a head, is now taking over after 93-year-old Mugabe resigned on Tuesday on the heels of a military take over.
“I 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, watched by a jubilant crowd of tens of thousands of people.
Early on Friday, ecstatic Zimbabweans trooped out in their numbers to witness the inauguration staged at the 60,000-capacity national stadium in Harare.
Mnangagwa and his wife Aurelia – who is dressed in white had arrived the venue to shouts of adoration from the Zimbabweans gathered at the stadium.
The crowd also exploded into a resounding cheer as Botswana’s President, Ian Khama shook hands and exchanged smiles with Mnangagwa.
Several dignitaries, including South Africa’s Telecommunications Minister Siyabonga Cwele and National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, Zambian President Edgar Lungu and former Zambian leader Kenneth Kaunda attended the landmark event.