Harare, Zimbabwe (CNN) – Zimbabwe’s former vice president is scheduled to be sworn in as the country’s interim leader on Friday, the state broadcaster reports, following Robert Mugabe’s resignation after 37 years of rule.
Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to return to Zimbabwe on Wednesday more than two weeks after Mugabe fired him triggering a political firestorm that ended the 93-year-old’s rule.
Following a night of cheering, singing and dancing in euphoric celebration, Zimbabwe awoke Wednesday to its first day in almost four decades without the leader who had ruled the country with an iron fist.
Hundreds of Mnangagwa’s supporters waited at the airport in Harare for the man dubbed “The Crocodile” to return and open a new chapter in the country’s history.
But for many others, this joyous first day without Mugabe is tempered with apprehension — Mnanagagwa served as Mugabe’s right-hand man for his entire career, and to many Zimbabweans, he is more feared than the man he replaces.
The main opposition MDC-T has shown no resistance to Mnangagwa serving as transitional leader. It will be looking instead to make inroads in elections slated for next year.
“We are very excited that we have gotten rid of Robert Mugabe, but we have gotten rid of one man, we have not gotten rid of the system that was oppressive for 37 years,” MDC-T Secretary General Douglas Mwonzora told CNN.
“Therefore we have to work towards conditions for free and fair elections. The Zimbabwean people still have to choose a president by themselves.”
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