Former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been sworn in as Zimbabwe's interim president, with Zimbabwe's army commander swearing allegiance to the new leader during the ceremony.
Speaking in his inauguration address, Mnangagwa has praised former President Robert Mugabe, calling him "the father of the nation," adding, "Let us all accept and acknowledge his immense contribution to the building of our nation."
Mnangagwa, who will serve as interim president until late August 2018, when Mugabe’s term was set to expire, has also confirmed that new election in the country would be held as scheduled next year. "Peace and harmony should be characteristic of how we relate to one another before, during and after the 2018 harmonized democratic elections next year."
Zimbabwe's new leader has called on the states that had imposed economic and political sanctions on Harare to reconsider them, adding that acts of corruption must stop in the country.
Crowds have gathered at the 60,000-seat Zimbabwean National Stadium in the capital Harare to witness the inauguration ceremony. When Mnangagwa arrived at the stadium the crowd erupted with shouts and singing, cheering him. A handful of regional leaders have also attended the ceremony, including the leaders of Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia.
"I will devote myself to the well being of Zimbabwe and its people, so help me God."— NG'ANG'A THE BLOGGER (@IamNjokiKelvin) 24 ноября 2017 г.
Emmerson Mnangagwa replaces Robert Mugabe as president of Zimbabwe. pic.twitter.com/FQEesXp1KR
Emmerson Mnangagwa sworn in as Zimbabwe's next president at the national stadium in Harare#zimbabwe pic.twitter.com/kwLP8ntAQi— ambrose noureya (@tenderget) 24 ноября 2017 г.
It's official! Emmerson Mnangagwa just took Oath of Office. Has been sworn in as President of Zimbabwe. 🇿🇼 pic.twitter.com/baDJErczRI— Christine Mhundwa (@mhundwa7) 24 ноября 2017 г.
After the ceremony, Mnangagwa is expected to announce his cabinet on Friday, according to media reports.
Cde ED Mnangagwa arrives crowd goes wild pic.twitter.com/2PlAItVfdu— ZANU PF (@ZANUPF_Official) 24 ноября 2017 г.
Organizers of the ceremony said that it would be a "historic day" for all Zimbabweans.
It was also reported earlier that Mugabe would miss the ceremony because he needs to recover from the recent "hectic events."
"The former President needed time to rest after the hectic events of the week and a half that has gone by and therefore he may not be attending tomorrow’s inauguration. He extends his good wishes and support to the incoming President," Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba told a Sputnik correspondent.
Last week, the country’s military deployed armored vehicles to the Zimbabwean capital city of Harare, confining Mugabe to his residence. After Mugabe failed to meet the party's ultimatum to resign, it decided to begin impeachment proceedings, with the Zimbabwean parliament's speaker announcing Mugabe's resignation on Tuesday.
In his letter read out by the parliament’s speaker, Mugabe said he was resigning to allow a peaceful transition and that his decision was voluntary. The news sparked a wave of celebrations across the country.