‘The Crocodile’ Emmerson Mnangagwa sworn in as Zimbabwe’s new President
Emmerson Mnangagwa has been sworn in as president of Zimbabwe, becoming the country’s second leader since independence from white minority rule in 1980.
Mnangagwa took his oath of office in front of tens of thousands of jubilant Zimbabweans who had gathered at a stadium in Harare, after greeting the crowd with a raised fist.
People sang and danced in the stands and raised banners reading “Dawn of a new era” and “No to retribution”, even as human rights activists began to report worrying details of attacks on close allies of the former first lady, Grace Mugabe, and their families. Mnangagwa himself has warned against “vengeful retribution”. “I Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa swear that as the president of the republic of Zimbabwe I will be faithful to Zimbabwe and obey, uphold and defend the constitution and all other laws of Zimbabwe,” he said as he took the oath of office before the chief justice
Meanwhile, he has assured former leader Robert Mugabe and his family “maximum security” ahead of his swearing in on Friday, state media reported.
Mnangagwa was a key Mugabe confidant for decades until they fell out because of the presidential ambitions of Grace Mugabe.
Critics have questioned his role in the Gukurahundi massacres in Matabeleland in 1983, when an estimated 20,000 people were killed in a crackdown on Mugabe opponents by the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade. Mnangagwa has denied any part in the atrocities
Despite his long association with the government that has presided over Zimbabwe’s decline, including economic collapse and human rights abuses, Mnangagwa has promised democracy and reached out to other countries for help.
Mugabe was the world’s oldest head of state when he quit on Tuesday amid impeachment proceedings. In the end, he became isolated and showed few of the political skills that kept him in power for 37 years and made him a prominent but polarising figure to the world
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