Newly sworn-in Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa kick-started his term as the country’s interim leader on Friday with a vow to revive the country’s collapsed economy and democracy.
He took his oath of office at a colourful ceremony in the capital, Harare, attended by thousands of cheering Zimbabweans.
In his speech, monitored on South African Broadcasting Corporation (Sabc) television, the 75-year-old said he was humbled by his new responsibility to rebuild the nation and tackle corruption.
“The task at hand is that of rebuilding our country. I am required to serve our country as the President of all citizens regardless of colour, creed, religion, tribe, totem or political affiliation,” said Mnangagwa.
The new leader revealed that his regime will relax Zimbabwe’s export procedures to boost foreign exchange which is critical for the country’s social economic and infrastuctural development.
“All foreign investment will be safe in Zimbabwe. Our economic policy will be directed for job, job, job creation and we must work together. You, me, all of us who make up this nation,” he said.
He also paid tribute to former president Robert Mugabe, who alongside his wife Grace was absent at the ceremony, describing him as “a father, mentor, comrade-in-arms and my leader”.
Mugabe was forced to resign earlier in the week after he sacked Mnangagwa as his deputy on November 6 for allegedly plotting to topple him from power.
The dismissal prompted the army to intervene, leading to mass protests in the country as millions of Zimbabweans condemned Mugabe’s style of leadership for the country’s poor socio-economic and political performance.
Mnangagwa’s inauguration finally brings down the curtain on Mugabe’s political career, having led the country for 37 years—since independence in 1980.
However, addressing a jovial crowd which attended his inauguration at the National Stadium on Friday, President Mnangagwa expressed enthusiasm to foster unity and tolerance among all Zimbabweans and the international community, saying the lack of it has eroded the country’s values. n