At a well attended ceremony in the capital Harare stadium, Zimbabwe’s new President who replaces former President Robert Mugabe has been sworn in.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa praised outgoing leader Robert Mugabe as “the father of the nation” during his inauguration address on Friday.
Before a crowd of thousands, the newly inaugurated President said, “Let me at this stage pay tribute to one of the, and the only surviving, founding fathers of our nation, comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe. “Let us all accept and acknowledge his immense contribution to the building of our nation.”
Mnangagwa promised that all foreign investments will be safe in Zimbabwe. “As we build a new democratic Zimbabwe we ask those who have punished us in the past, to reconsider their political and economic sanctions… Let this make way for a new beginning. SADC is our home… and we commit ourselves to further its vision and ideals.”
Mnangagwa’s inauguration marks the end of a tumultuous series of events from an unprecedented statement by the Army Chief General Constantino Chiwengo in which he warned the ruling party and President Mugabe about the “purge” of loyalists following the dismissal of Mnangagwa by Mugabe to the Army detaining Mugabe and his wife Grace and the start of Parliamentary impeachment proceedings which precipitated the resignation of President Mugabe on Tuesday.
The new Zimbabwe’s President who is is a former Defense Minister promised to fight corruption and said, “the culture of government must change, and change now.”
President Mnangagwa promised that “democratic” elections will be held next year as scheduled.
Opposition activists are, however, calling for electoral and other reforms and the release of all political prisoners before the holding of elections.
Shortly before the inaugural ceremonies, the Army Commander General Chiwengo arrived to cheers from the crowd in the stadium.
President Mnangagwa has asked Zimbabweans to avoid retribution and has promised to provided maximum protection for former President Robert Mugabe who remains in the country.
Despite reports of the resignation of long time Zimbabwean leader Robert G. Mugabe on Sunday following pressure from the military and calls for him to step down by tens of thousands of citizens over the weekend, the veteran leader has made a defiant televised speech insisting that he will preside over the next ruling Zanu-PF Congress in December.
On Sunday, the Central Committee of the party removed Mr. Mugabe as leader and replaced him with former Vice President Emmerson Mnagagwa who was dismissed by Mugabe.
On Sunday afternoon, Mugabe met with army generals at his residence as part of talks aimed at his exit. News circulated that the 93 year old veteran leader had resigned and would address the nation. However, in a rather defiant speech, he made no mention of his exit.
Reports from multiple news sources say that the U.S. and China were aware of the “military coup”. But there has been no official admission from the two countries of their knowledge of the plan to remove Mugabe from power
According to the City Press in Harare, Army Chief Constantino Chiwengo traveled to China two weeks ago as part of the secretive grand plot and to obtain assurances from China about its continuous economic engagement and support for the impending change. Chiwengo reportedly told Mugabe that he was traveling for medical follow up
South Africa and China have denied that they had prior information about the military take-over in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabweans are in disbelief at the defiant stance of Mugabe. It is unclear what the next steps are if he refuses to stand down. War veterans who have become disenchanted with Mugabe in recent years have given him until Monday to resign.
Latest reports from Reuters say ZANU PF Chief Whip Lovemore Matuke has announced that party members in Parlianent are set to meet later on Monday to start the process of impeachment against Mugabe.
It was reported earlier that Mugabe had prepared a draft resignation letter but has not signed nor delivered it.
According to latest reports coming into West African Journal Magazine, Zanu PF says it has informed President Mugabe Monday if it’s decision to recall him as President of the country and as First Secretary of the ruling party.
According to a letter seen by the West African Journal Magazine, the Chief Whip of the party in Parliament is to proceed with the impeachment process.
There is no word from President Mugabe on this latest development.