Emmerson Mnangagwa was on Friday sworn in as President of Zimbabwe amidst loud cheering by supporters at a packed Harare’s national stadium.
While taking his oath of office, Mnangagwa vowed to uphold the constitution of Zimbabwe and protect the rights of all 16 million Zimbabweans.
“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 Luke Malaba, watched by a jubilant crowd of tens of thousands of people.
Dignitaries, including leaders from various African countries filed in to cheers. Opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Joice Mujuru were there.
The 75-year-old whose sacking this month prompted the military takeover forcing Mugabe out arrived in Harare on Wednesday from brief exile. He had fled from Zimbabwe in fear of his safety.
Mugabe resigned as Zimbabwe’s president on Tuesday, a week after the army and his former political allies moved to end four decades of rule by a man once feted as an independence hero who became feared as a despot.
The 93-year-old veteran politician did not attend Mnangagwa’s inauguration and the official reason given was that the former president needed to rest.
According to a ZANU-PF official, Mnangagwa will serve the remainder of Mugabe’s term until elections that are due to be held by September 2018.
Mnangagwa assured Mugabe he and his family would be safe in Zimbabwe when the two men spoke for the first time since Mnangagwa returned home this week, the state-owned The Herald newspaper reported on Friday.