By Maynard Manyowa
Harare – Emmerson Mnangagwa delivered a statesman’s speech shortly after he was sworn in as Zimbabwe’s third President at the country’s National Sports Stadium in the capital Harare this afternoon.
A capacity crowd of 60,000 filled the inside, while thousands other stood outside listening in on a historic day. Despite being the third President, Mnangagwa is only the second person to ever lead the country, taking over from veteran statesman Robert Mugabe, who resigned earlier this week,
Mnangagwa’s speech was on of reconciliation, hope, development and ‘working together. He acknowledged Zimbabwe’s economic challenges which he stated needed to be addressed in both the short term and long term.
In the interim, he spoke about the need to fix the cash crisis. Stating that “people need to access their savings”. In the long term, he promised that “foreign investments of any kind will always be protected in this country”
On the land issue, Mnangagwa said his government was committing to compensation all white farmers whose land was acquired by the government for redistribution beginning in the year 2000.
He spoke at length about the necessity of corporation, at local, regional, continental and international level.
“Isolation is never beneficial nor sustainable.” He said, drifting immensely from his predecessor Mugabe, who was ever willing to isolate the country to consolidate his grip on power.
He spoke about reconciliation, even extending an olive branch to his predecessor Mugabe, whom he described as a father, and a mentor.
He cautioned that the politics in the country had become both poisonous and polarizing. Preaching a message of unity. “by-gones be by-gones”.
On democracy, he said elections would go ahead as planned. He encouraged openness and accountability. “Our offices should always be open so that we welcome and hear our people’s voices.”, he said in a speech where he addressed the citizens as ‘our customers’.
He reserved strong words against corruption. “It must stop” he said, before adding that his government would ensure that those engaging in corrupt activities would meet “swift justice”.
Heads of state who attended his swearing in ceremony included Bostwana’s Ian Khama, Zambia’s Edgar Lungu, and Mozambique’s Filipe Nyusi
Revered for heads of state Kenneth Kaunda, and Sam Nujoma attended. Zimbabwe’s former leader, Robert Mugabe did not attend the ceremony. He remains in Zimbabwe however.
Mnangagwa is expected to announce his own cabinet very soon.