13:27 GMT +315 December 2017
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    President elect Emmerson Mnangagwa (C,L) gestures as he arrives with his wife Auxilia (C,R) at the National Sport Stadium in Harare, on November 24, 2017 during the Inauguration ceremony

    Emmerson Mnangagwa Sworn in as Zimbabwe's New President (PHOTO, VIDEO)

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    Earlier this week, 93-year-old Robert Mugabe resigned as the country's president after decades-long rule.

    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.

    After the ceremony, Mnangagwa is expected to announce his cabinet on Friday, according to media reports.

    READ MORE: Who is Zimbabwe's President-to-Be Emmerson 'Crocodile' Mnangagwa

    People wait for the inauguration ceremony to swear in Zimbabwe's former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa as president in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 24, 2017
    © REUTERS/ Mike Hutchings
    People wait for the inauguration ceremony to swear in Zimbabwe's former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa as president in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 24, 2017

    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.

    People gesture as they wait for the inauguration ceremony to swear in Zimbabwe's former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa as president in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 24, 2017
    © REUTERS/ Mike Hutchings
    People gesture as they wait for the inauguration ceremony to swear in Zimbabwe's former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa as president in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 24, 2017

    In early November, Mnangagwa was sacked by Mugabe as his vice president, in a move that led the country's ruling party, Zimbabwean African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the military to intervene and force Mugabe to step down.

    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.

    READ MORE: Mugabe Granted Immunity From Prosecution as Part of Resignation Deal — Reports

    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.

    Related:

    Before Military Takeover, Chinese Investment in Zimbabwe Was Dwindling
    Zimbabwe: 'Things Will Probably Be the Same' Under New President – Researcher
    Mnangagwa to Be Sworn in as Zimbabwe's President on Friday - State TV
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    inauguration, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe
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