Mnangagwa endorsed ZANU-PF party leader as new era beckons

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s new president Emmerson Mnangagwa has laid out plans for his ruling ZANU-PF party. It’s the first conference after Robert Mugabe had been ousted after 37 years in office. Elections are scheduled for 2018.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa (pictured above) has been endorsed by ZANU-PF delegates as party leader and presidential candidate for the 2018 elections.

It was the first ZANU-PF party conference after longtime ruler Robert Mugabe was forced to step down after 37 years in office. Mnangagwa who used to be a close Mugabe ally said he wanted to unite the party and the country.

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He stressed he wanted to pave a new way for ZANU-PF and vowed to do everything in his power to hold “credible, free and fair” elections which are expected to be held in July or August.

“My ascendance to the helm of the party must never be interpreted as a defeat of one faction and installation of another,” he told delegates in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare.

“My presidency is about one united ZANU-PF – a national party with a national outlook,” he added.

Bitter succession battle

Mnangagwa had been embroiled in a bitter succession battle with Mugabe’s wife Grace, who Mugabe tried to install as his successor.

Mnangagwa was backed by the military and has since appointed military officials to key government positions after he took office last month.

Mugabe, who finally resigned after the military had put him under house arrest and lawmakers began impeachment proceedings, was reportedly in Singapore for medical treatment and did not attend ZANU-PF’s conference.