Zimbabwe: Emmerson Mnangagwa sworn in as president

Emmerson Mnangagwa becomes president of Zimbabwe

Triumphant return

President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa and his wife Auxillia returned to Harare on Wednesday from temporary exile in neighboring South Africa. The former vice president fled earlier in November when his power struggle with the former first lady, Grace Mugabe, came to a head and he was sacked by Zimbabwe's ex-President Robert Mugabe.

Emmerson Mnangagwa becomes president of Zimbabwe

Huge crowds brave the weather

Driving rain did not hinder tens of thousands of people from coming to the National Sports Stadium to witness the transition of power. Former President Mugabe's resignation on Wednesday prompted jubilant Zimbabweans to take to the streets of Harare in celebration.

Emmerson Mnangagwa becomes president of Zimbabwe

Here comes the judge

Members of Zimbabwe's judiciary arrive at the stadium to oversee the inauguration. Emmerson Mnangagwa takes over after a bloodless coup saw the end of strongman Mugabe's 37-year rule.

Emmerson Mnangagwa becomes president of Zimbabwe

Strong support

Mnangagwa has been a mainstay of Zimbabwe's politics since the country's independence struggle against Great Britain in the 1970s and 80s, and also served as the country's spy chief. He was considered to be Mugabe's likely choice as sucessor until his ouster on November 6.

Emmerson Mnangagwa becomes president of Zimbabwe

Popular with the army

Mnangagwa is considered to be popular with the army, who led the uprising against 93-year-old Mugabe last week. Military officials took over state broadcasters and government buildings, announcing that they sought to root out the "criminals" in Mugabe's inner circle.

Emmerson Mnangagwa becomes president of Zimbabwe

Swearing in

"I will be faithful to Zimbabwe and obey, uphold and defend the constitution and all other laws of Zimbabwe," Mnangagwa said before the country's chief justice. Robert Mugabe was not present at the inauguration, "given the hectic events of the past week-and-a-half," according to Zimbabwe's Herald newspaper.

Former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been inaugurated as Zimbabwe’s new leader, taking over from his toppled predecessor Robert Mugabe. A large crowd gathered to witness an historic transition of power.

Tens of thousands of people gathered at Zimbabwe's National Sports Stadium, to see former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa swear his oath on Friday.

Mnangagwa, who was sacked from his role as Mugabe's deputy earlier this month, is only the second president in Zimbabwe's 37-year existence as an independent nation. 

"I will be faithful to Zimbabwe and obey, uphold and defend the constitution and all other laws of Zimbabwe," said Mnangagwa, as he took the oath of office before the country's chief justice. Mnangagwa then received his chain and sash of office, before taking salutes and pledges of allegiance from military chiefs.

In his inaugural speech, Mnangagwa:

— praised Mugabe, declaring him "the only surviving, founding fathers of our nation."

— said that Zimbabwean domestic politics has become "poisoned and polarized."

— vowed to compensate farmers whose land was confiscated under Mugabe's bitterly contested land redistribution program.

— pledged to fight corruption. "Acts of corruption must stop forthwith. Where these occur, swift justice must be served," said Mnangawa.

Mugabe, who ruled for the entire period since independence from white-minority rule in 1980, did not attend.

Read more: Emmerson Mnangagwa — The Crocodile who snapped back

Zimbabwe's Herald newspaper on Friday said that, while speaking to Mugabe, Mnangagwa had agreed his former boss need not be present at the inauguration "given the hectic events of the past week-and-a-half."

The week that changed Zimbabwe

Mnangagwa, Grace Mugabe go head to head

In November, Robert Mugabe dismissed his vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, after accusing him of "plotting a coup against the government." Some Zimbabweans feared Mugabe was grooming his wife, Grace Mugabe, to take over in the event of his death.

The week that changed Zimbabwe

Chiwenga's warning

On November 13, 2017, General Constantino Chiwenga, commander of Zimbabwe's Defense Force, warned that the army could "step in" to save the country from political tension and economic crisis.

The week that changed Zimbabwe

Tanks in Harare

Military and armored vehicles were seen at the outskirts of Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, on November 14, 2017. On the same day, the military also took over the state-run broadcaster ZBC.

The week that changed Zimbabwe

Mugabe safe in army hands

On November 15, 2017, Major General SB Moyo, the military spokesman, announced on the ZBC that Mugabe and his family were "safe and sound and their security was guaranteed." He said the military was targeting "criminals around" Mugabe who were "committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering."

The week that changed Zimbabwe

A 'smiling' Mugabe meets Chiwenga

On November 16, 2017, General Constantino Chiwenga, along with other officials, was seen in military uniform meeting President Robert Mugabe (C) at the State House. It was reported that Mugabe was smiling as they both shook hands. However, the leaders of ZANU-PF announced that there was "no going back."

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Mugabe puts in a public appearance

After being placed under house arrest, Mugabe appeared publicly at a university graduation ceremony on November 17, 2017. Here, a military officer adjusts a chair for Mugabe, who is dressed in a blue-and-yellow academic gown, to sit on after arriving to preside over the ceremony. Mugabe, who was reportedly tired, was then caught falling asleep.

The week that changed Zimbabwe

Zimbabweans call on Mugabe to go

On November 18, 2017, residents of the capital, Harare, held a protest with anti-Mugabe placards demanding the president's resignation. Veterans of the independence war, activists and ruling party leaders called publicly for Mugabe to be forced from office.

The week that changed Zimbabwe

Mugabe ousted from ZANU-PF leadership

Zimbabwean War Veterans leader Chris Mutsvangwa (R) arrived at a meeting of the ruling ZANU-PF party in Harare November 19, 2017. After hours of deliberation, the party announced that it had decided to fire Mugabe as leader of the party.

The week that changed Zimbabwe

Mugabe does not step down

Many expected that after being recalled as ZANU-PF party leader, President Mugabe would use his address to the nation resign with dignity. Zimbabweans were left shocked after the rambling speech made no reference to him stepping down. Mugabe now faces impeachment, with proceedings believed to be starting on Tuesday.

The week that changed Zimbabwe

End of an era

Rather than face impeachment proceedings, Robert Mugabe prompted dancing in the streets of Harare when he resigned on November 22. "My decision to resign is voluntary on my part and arises from my concern for the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and my desire for a smooth, non-violent transfer of power," the 93-year-old said in a letter.

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Euphoria in Harare

Supporters of Emmerson Mnangagwa celebrate the end of four decades under Mugabe. Mnangagwa was joined by cheering crowds after he returned to Zimbabwe from exile in neighboring South Africa. He is expected to be sworn in on November 24.

An important 'no show'

Mugabe, who had been the world's oldest head of state, resigned on Tuesday after the ruling ZANU-PF party sacked him as its leader and threatened to begin impeachment proceedings.

South African President Jacob Zuma, who would have represented southern Africa's dominant regional player, was not due to attend because he was hosting a visit by Angola's new head of state.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was among the dignitaries.

Read more: Zimbabwe's Emmerson Mnangagwa returns — What's next?

Mnangagwa served as a former justice and defense minister, and was in important Mugabe confidant for decades before the pair fell out because of the presidential ambitions of Mugabe's wife, Grace. Mugabe sacked Mnangagwa from his vice presidential role in early November. Mnangagwa then fled to South Africa.

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'Constant contact' with military

In his first speech since returning, Mnangagwa said he had fled the country because of threats to his life, as well as an attempted food poisoning in August. Mnangagwa said he was in constant contact with military leaders during his time in exile.

Read more: Zimbabwe ex-President Robert Mugabe's stolen fortune

He also pledged "jobs, jobs" for Zimbabweans, who have seen their country's economy collapse during Mugabe's period in office.

Despite an overall message of inclusion while speaking in English, it was noted that Mnangagwa had switched to the local Shona language to condemn opponents of the party as being like "barking dogs."

Mugabe is understood to have been given assurances that he will be immune from any future prosecution, as well as a guarantee of safety for his family, including wife Grace.

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