by MARCUS MUSHONGA
HARARE, (CAJ News) – NEWLY-elected Zimbabwean president, Emmerson Mnangagwa (75), has been sworn in amid pomp and fanfare in an event attended by fellow African leaders in the capital Harare.
Mnangagwa’s inauguration came two days after the Constitutional Court upheld his election and rejected a petition by the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-Alliance) to nullify his victory in the July 30 poll.
Chief Justice Luke Malaba, who earlier presided over the court petition by opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa, swore in Mnangagwa as the second-elected leader of the southern African country since attaining independence from Britain in 1980.
He officially succeeds Robert Mugabe, who was deposed in a coup last November as the factionalism within the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU-PF) heightened. Canaan Banana was the first president but his role was only ceremonial.
Several dignitaries such as the African Union (AU) chairman Paul Kagame, Southern African Development Community (SADC) chairman Cyril Ramaphosa graced Mnangagwa’s inauguration.
Other leaders who attended included presidents Mokgweetsi Masisi (Botswana), Joseph Kabila (Democratic Republic of Congo President), Edgar Lungu (Zambia), Thomas Thabane (Lesotho prime minister), Joaquim Chissano (former Mozambique president) and Carlos Do Rossario, the prime minister of Mozambique and Jakaya Kikwete (former Tanzanian president).
Mugabe and Chamisa were conspicuous with their absence but the former president’s daughter, Bona and her husband, Simba Chikore, were among attendees that thronged the 60 000-seater National Sports Stadium.
Chamisa, whom Mugabe had endorsed on the eve of the election, on Saturday insisted he was the ultimate winner of the presidential poll disclosing he would take his disputed petition to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.
“I have legitimate claim that I am supposed to be leading the people of Zimbabwe. SADC and AU may come, but they will be simply endorsing an unacceptable outcome,” said Chamisa.
He justified his absence from the inauguration.
“You cannot steal my goats and then ask me to come and share them with you. Give me the goats first, then we can talk about sharing,” he said.
He further disapproved Mnangagwa’s election.
“We control over 90 percent of those who contribute the tax revenue (urban residents). Mnangagwa must understand the reality in this country. We have a disputed election, a legitimacy issue and a constitutional crisis around the elections in Zimbabwe,” Chamisa said.
Mnangagwa’s government faces a challenging task in reviving an economy that was a marvel for Africa at independence but was brought to its knees by decades of mismanagement and corruption by the administration of Mugabe.
Some sanctions imposed by some Western nations have worsened the crisis.
Former colonial master, Britain, this past weekend urged Mnangagwa to work with his political rivals to resuscitate the country.
The European Union, which had also slapped Zimbabwe with sanctions confirmed removing them while Mnangagwa pledged to work with opposition, all citizens of colour to resuscitate the country’s economy.
– CAJ News