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Zimbabwe embraces new leader

By Xinhua | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-24 07:56

International community urges stability after Mugabe's resignation

Zimbabwe's incoming president Emmerson Mnangagwa is set to be sworn in on Friday to serve the remainder of long-serving former president Robert Mugabe's term until the general election next year, the state broadcaster has said.

Greeted with cheers by supporters at the headquarters of the ruling ZANU-PF party, Mnangagwa, the 75-year-old former vice-president, made his first public appearance on Wednesday after being sacked by Mugabe on Nov 6.

The termination led the military to move in and kick off a series of extraordinary events ending in Mugabe stepping down on Tuesday amid impeachment proceedings.

Mnangagwa thanked Zimbabweans for receiving him back into the country, saying, "Today we are witnessing the unfolding of democracy in our country.... I appeal to all genuine, patriotic Zimbabweans to come together so that we grow our economy."

A week after Mugabe fired Mnangagwa, his political ally for more than 40 years, army commander Constantino Chiwenga issued a rare public rebuke, saying the military would "step in" to calm political tensions and criticizing the handling of the once-prosperous southern African nation's crumbling economy.

Armored personnel carriers were seen on the outskirts of capital Harare. The military moved in overnight, taking control of the state-run broadcaster.

The 93-year-old Mugabe and his wife Grace were reportedly put under house arrest by the military on Nov 15 on allegations of disloyalty and deceit.

Mugabe made his first public appearance a day later, attending a graduation ceremony at the Zimbabwe Open University.

The founding father of Zimbabwe, accused of allowing the formation of cabals who clouded his judgment, was deposed by the ruling party Central Committee as party leader on Sunday.

The same day, the party reinstated Mnangagwa and nominated him to replace Mugabe as its leader.

Mugabe was given until midday on Monday to resign, but he ignored the deadline, prompting ZANU-PF legislators to start parliamentary impeachment proceedings against him.

Tribute paid to Mugabe

As the impeachment proceedings got under way, Mugabe abruptly resigned on Tuesday, ending almost four decades of near total dominance of Zimbabwe's political landscape.

The ruling party later paid tribute to the ousted leader, who had led Zimbabwe since independence from the United Kingdom in 1980, for his contribution.

ZANU-PF spokesman Simon Khaya Moyo said on Tuesday that people must "acknowledge that (Mugabe) did so much for the liberation of Zimbabwe and indeed as prime minister and president, post-independence".

The international community, meanwhile, urged all parties in Zimbabwe to exercise restraint and maintain political stability and development.

Chairman of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat welcomed Mugabe's decision to step down, saying it will go down in history as an act of statesmanship that can only bolster his political legacy.

Following Mugabe's resignation, South Africa's members of parliament on Wednesday called on Southern African Development Community heads of state and government to provide strategic assistance to all stakeholders in Zimbabwe, if so requested.

Gwede Mantashe, general secretary of South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress, said on Wednesday that they are ready to work with Zimbabwe to rebuild the country.

"We must continue to respect and celebrate Mugabe for the role he played over the last decade. We will continue working with comrades in Zimbabwe. We will not tell them ... who should lead," he said.

The European Union said in a statement that Mugabe's resignation showed that he has listened to the voice of the people.

Zimbabwe embraces new leader

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