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Published On: Fri, Nov 24th, 2017

People gather at 60,000 seat stadium in Harare to witness swearing in of Emmerson Mnangagwa

nsnbc : Crowds are gathering at a 60,000 seat stadium in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare to witness the swearing in of Emmerson Mnangagwa as the country’s president. His sudden elevation to the country’s highest office follows the rapid departure of Robert Mugabe who reigned as “president” and de-facto autocrat for 37 years until the military intervened and asked the 93-year-old to step down.

Mnanggangwa_ZimbabweThe dismissal of former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa earlier this month was the drop that filled the cup of bitterness against Robert Mugabe and led the ruling Zanu-PF party and the army to intervene and force Mugabe to quit. Mnangagwa, who had fled the country, returned from exile on Wednesday after Mugabe had agreed to step down.

The opposition is urging Mnangagwa, who has been part of the ruling elite, to end the “culture of corruption”. The news on Tuesday that 93-year-old Mugabe was stepping down sparked extatic celebrations across the country. It came in the form of a letter read out in parliament, abruptly halting impeachment proceedings against him. In it Mugabe said he was resigning to allow a smooth and peaceful transfer of power, and that his decision was voluntary.

Neither Robert Mugabe nor his wife Grace – who had been groomed to “inherit” the presidency – have been seen in public since Sunday, and their whereabouts are unknown. On Thursday, several reports suggested Mr Mugabe had been granted immunity from prosecution.

Mnangawa’s swearing-in ceremony will be held at the National Sports Stadium, with organizers calling on Zimbabweans to come and witness a “historic day”. Ahead of the swearing-in, Mnangagwa urged Zimbabweans to “remain patient and peaceful and desist from any form of vengeful retribution”. He fled to South Africa two weeks ago – only to return home on Wednesday to a hero’s welcome.

Mnangagwa pledged to create jobs in a country where some estimates say 90% of people are unemployed. “We want to grow our economy, we want peace, we want jobs, jobs, jobs,” he told cheering crowds in Harare. Zimbabwe’s main industrial index has slumped by 40% since last week’s military intervention. The stock market has shed $6bn (£4.5bn) in a week.

F/AK – nsnbc 24.11.2017

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