World’s attention on Zimbabwe as Mnangagwa is sworn in

Emmerson Mnangagwa helped direct Zimbabwe's 1970s war of independence

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BY BBC NEWS/KORIR JUMA,24TH NOV 2017 –The world’s attention is on Zimbabwe  as the former vice president Emerson Mnangagwa is set to be sworn in taking over from the former president Robert Mugabe who has ruled the south African country for 37 years.Crowds are gathering at a 60,000-seat stadium in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, to witness the swearing-in of Emmerson Mnangagwa .

It follows the dramatic departure of Robert Mugabe after 37 years of authoritarian rule.

The former vice-president’s dismissal earlier this month led the ruling Zanu-PF party and the army to intervene and force Mr Mugabe to quit.

Mr Mnangagwa, who had fled the country, returned from exile on Wednesday.

The opposition is urging Mr Mnangagwa, who has been part of the ruling elite, to end the “culture of corruption”.

How will the inauguration unfold?

The ceremony will be at the National Sports Stadium and organisers have called on Zimbabweans to come and witness a “historic day”.

After Mr Mnangagwa and his wife Mai enter and the national anthem is played, Bishop Mutendi will lead the stadium in prayer.

Mr Mnangagwa will take his oath of office at about 11:30 local time (09:30 GMT), before a flypast and a gun salute. The new president will speak at about noon local time.

Will Mr Mugabe be there?

He is not expected to attend Mr Mnangagwa’s inauguration, the BBC’s Andrew Harding reports.

The official explanation for the former president’s absence is that the 93-year-old needs to rest.

But the fact he is not attending is a stark reminder that this is no ordinary transition, our correspondent adds, that despite his official resignation he was forced out by the military.

On Thursday, several reports suggested Mr Mugabe had been granted immunity from prosecution.

Local media are reporting that Mr Mnangagwa has offered the Mugabe family “maximum security and welfare”.

The former president “expressed his good wishes and support for the incoming president,” the Herald newspaper reports.

How did Zimbabwe get to this point?

The news on Tuesday that 93-year-old Mr Mugabe was stepping down sparked wild celebrations across the country.

It came in the form of a letter read out in parliament, abruptly halting impeachment proceedings against him.

In it, Mr Mugabe said he was resigning to allow a smooth and peaceful transfer of power, and that his decision was voluntary.

President Mugabe was accused of preparing the presidency for his wife Grace

Neither Mr Mugabe nor his wife Grace have been seen in public since Sunday, and their whereabouts are unknown.

Ahead of the swearing-in, Mr 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.

Emmerson Mnangagwa helped direct Zimbabwe’s 1970s war of independence

Mr 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.

Will the change be good for the economy?

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.

Analysts say the market is now correcting itself, optimistic of a change of economic policy under Mr Mnangagwa.

However, the International Monetary Fund has warned that Zimbabwe must act quickly to dig its economy out of a hole and access international financial aid.

What comes next politically?

On Thursday, Zimbabwe’s main opposition MDC party called for deep-rooted political reform to dismantle the repressive apparatus that sustained Mr Mugabe’s regime.

 

“As MDC, we are saying, after so many years of Zanu-PF misrule, the first thing that needs to be transformed is the culture. The culture of violence, the culture of corruption. We need to change that culture,” MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said.

“And for President Mnangagwa, he must realise that it is not an easy walk in the park.”

It is unclear whether Zanu-PF will govern alone ahead of scheduled elections next year, or whether a coalition government of national unity that includes opposition groups will be formed.

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