ZIMBABWEANS are today witnessing the swearing in of their second president since independence at a groundbreaking ceremony scheduled in the country’s capital Harare.
The incoming leader, Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa, will take oath of office as interim president following the resignation of former president Robert Mugabe on Tuesday. He will serve the remainder of Mugabe’s term to the general elections due in September 2018.
Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda said he had gazetted President Mugabe’s resignation in the Government Gazette as required by law.
“ZANU-PF has nominated Emmerson Mnangagwa to fill the vacancy in the Office of the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe following President Mugabe’s resignation this week and he will be sworn-in on Friday (today),’’ he said.
Mr Mnangagwa returned from an exile in South Africa where he had earlier sought refuge after his sacking as Vice- President, a move that fueled a temporary unprecedented political crisis in the country.
His dismissal compelled the ruling party and the military to intervene and ultimately forcing the 93-year old only person independent Zimbabwe has known as president to step down.
In a 20-minute speech upon his arrival in Harare, Mr Mnangagwa called for cooperation from Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states, African continent and other friends outside the continent.
“I am already receiving messages of cooperation support that aim at growing our economy,” he told a cheering crowd that gathered at the headquarters of the ruling Zanu-PF party. He said SADC leaders had hailed Zimbabweans and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) for peacefully handling the transitional processes in the country.
“I was in constant contact with the service chiefs throughout and may I also inform you that in my discussions with some Heads of State, they have hailed the discipline and peacefulness of the Zimbabweans,” Mr Mnangagwa said, hinting that he had discussions with South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma, retired Namibian President Hage Geingob and retired Tanzania’s head of state Jakaya Kikwete.
“They are all admitting that the way you have managed this process makes SADC proud not only in this continent, but worldwide,” he told his supporters in Harare. He also vowed to create jobs in the country where some analysts say a greater percentage of people are unemployed.
“I appeal to all patriotic Zimbabweans, to come together, to work together because no one is important than the other,’’ he said adding: “We want to grow our economy, we want peace in our country, we want jobs, jobs, jobs….’’ The speech was his first since Mr Mugabe fired him on November 6 over a succession tussle, a move that prompted the military’s intervention. He was surrounded by a large security detail and arrived at the headquarters of the ruling ZANU-PF party in a presidential-style motorcade.
However, despite Mugabe’s resignation, independent political commentators say, the former president will remain a true statesman who championed self-rule and true independence of Zimbabwe.