HARARE – Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in as president of Zimbabwe on Friday, two weeks after being sacked as vice-President by since-deposed leader Robert Mugabe, and made an immediate appeal to overseas investors to revive the economy.
Thousands upon thousands gathered to celebrate in capital city Harare as 75-year-old Mnangagwa took his oath of office as the country’s second leader since gaining independence from white minority rule in 1980.
Against a background of crowds singing and dancing with banners reading “Dawn of a new era” and “No to retribution”, Mnangagwa warned against “vengeful retribution” against Mugabe supporters.
Just before 93-year-old Mugabe was deposed by a military intervention earlier this month, he had removed Mnangagwa from his role as vice president in a move many saw as an attempt to pave the way for succession by his wife Grace. This, however, only prompted the country’s military to intervene, culminating in Mugabe’s resignation on Tuesday.
New president Mnangagwa on Friday that Zimbabwe would service its debt obligations, an appeal to investors to revive the country’s economy, a day after the International Monetary Fund had sent out a warning for Zimbabwe to act quickly and dig its economy from a deep financial hole and access international financial aid.
Zimbabwe’s economy once thrived but after years of hyperinflation is now viewed as a regional basket case. However, Mnangagwa has promised to grow the economy and provide “jobs, jobs, jobs”, having recently announced that the country was entering “the second phase of its birth” and “solidarity and partnership is the way forward”.
He is expected to serve till the end of the presidential term next year, although an election date has yet to be confirmed.
The former President was not present at Friday’s swearing-in, although the ruling party officials said he would remain in Zimbabwe, promising safety and security and preserving his legacy as a war hero. – AP