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Zimbabwe's president Mnangagwa sworn in

August 26, 2018

Emmerson Mnangagwa has taken the oath of office following an election victory that was disputed by the main opposition. He has held the post since November following the resignation of longtime leader Robert Mugabe.

Zimbabwe president Mnangagwa is sworn in
Image: Reuters/P. Bulawayo

Emmerson Mnangagwa was inaugurated as Zimbabwe's president in his own right on Sunday, days after the Constitutional Court dismissed the main opposition's claim that his July 30 election win was rigged.

Mnangagwa previously held a series of cabinet portfolios under Robert Mugabe's presidency. He went on to replace Mugabe nine months ago, after the strongman resigned under military pressure.

Read more: Zimbabwe court upholds presidential election results

Zimbabwe's top court upholds Mnangagwa's election victory: Privilege Musvanhiri from Harare

How the ceremony unfolded

  • Mnangagwa took the oath of office for a five-year term in front of thousands of supporters in Harare's national stadium.
  • "I Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa swear that as president of the republic of Zimbabwe I will be faithful to Zimbabwe (and) will obey, uphold and defend the constitution of Zimbabwe." 
  • Sunday's ceremony was presided over by Chief Justice Luke Malaba, who along with eight other Constitutional Court judges had, last week, dismissed the opposition's petition against Mnangagwa's election win.
  • Sunday's ceremony was the second time Mnangagwa was sworn in after he took over from Mugabe last November. But it was his first after winning nearly 51 percent voter support, versus 44 percent for his rival Nelson Chamisa.
  • The heads of state of South Africa, Congo, Rwanda and Zambia were among those who attended. Botswana's former leader and a sharp critic of Mugabe, Ian Khama, had attended Mnangagwa's first inauguration in November but skipped Sunday's ceremony.

Read more: Zimbabweans hope for economic recovery ahead of court ruling on election outcome

Opposition leader defiant

Chamisa, Zimbabwe's main opposition leader, rejected the court ruling, and ahead of Sunday's inauguration described it as "false." He promised to step up peaceful protests against Mnangagwa's rule.

US election observers reacted to Friday's court ruling by calling on "all sides to rely on peaceful expression and to avoid acts or threats of retribution against political rivals."

Religious leader Andrew Wutawunashe, who gave the blessing before the oath of office, appealed to US President Donald Trump to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe and its leader.

"We are saying to you ... we have at last found a man who can make our small nation a great nation. Please help him."

Read more: Zimbabwe: Deadly clashes erupt over election 'results manipulation'

My City: Harare

Much to attend to: Mnangagwa, who is backed by the country's military, now faces the mammoth task of rebuilding an economy that remains in a depression after years of mismanagement and hyperinflation. Deadly protests following the July election demonstrate the urgent need to unite a nation that had hoped that the post-Mugabe era would deliver change.

Election violence and arrests

Despite the opposition claiming election fraud, Western election observers noted few issues around the peaceful vote. But they did express concern about "excessive use of force" two days later, when six people were killed as the military swept into the capital to disperse protests. Several opposition supporters were arrested in the days after the vote.

mm/aw (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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