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Mnangagwa returns to Zimbabwe after Mugabe exit

Kenya News:

Harare

Sacked Zimbabwean Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa has returned home from a brief exile in South Africa following the resignation of President Robert Mugabe.

Mr Mnangagwa, who is favoured by the military to succeed Mr Mugabe, Wednesday met South African President Jacob Zuma before embarking on his journey home.

He flew on a private jet from Johannesburg’s Lanseria airport and landed at the Manyame Air Base in the capital Harare where he was received by a huge crowd.

His motorcade was cheered on by excited Zimbabweans as it made its way to his private residence in the capital.

SWEARING IN

President Mugabe’s successor will be sworn into office on Friday, ending days of uncertainty in the southern African country following an army takeover.

The long serving Zimbabwean leader resigned on Tuesday, paving the way for Mr Mnangagwa to take over.

Earlier, the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Jacob Mudenda, had announced that Zanu-PF had nominated Mr Mnangagwa to be the next president and preparations for his inauguration were now underway.

Mr Mnangagwa’s ascendancy to the presidency has created a lot of expectations from Zimbabweans suffering under the weight of a collapsing economy and repression.

REBUILD COUNTRY

Former deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara said President Mugabe’s resignation had given Zimbabweans an opportunity to rebuild their country.

“With the forced resignation of Robert Mugabe, the citizens of Zimbabwe have a unique opportunity to break with the past and create a different country – a stable, peaceful, democratic, prosperous and globally competitive nation. Here are my thoughts,” he said.

However, he warned that President Mugabe’s fall did not mean that the country would become a democracy overnight.

“For the students and workers, the struggle against the Mugabe regime is 30 years old, and for the opposition parties, it is 18 years. The removal of Mugabe has a long history,” he said.

“Let us understand very clearly that, in addition to fighting against Mugabe the dictator, we have also been fighting to dismantle the system, values and culture that he has bequeathed us – Mugabeism.

“Yesterday, we defeated Mugabe the person. Mugabeism remains intact,” he added.

CELEBRATIONS

The 93-year-old ruler’s resignation was greeted with wild celebrations throughout the country.

President Mugabe had ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 and his ruling Zanu-PF party had already endorsed him as its candidate for the 2018 elections before the dramatic fallout with Mr Mnangagwa.

The former vice-president accused his long-time boss of trying to create a dynasty after it became clear that he wanted his 52-year-old wife, Grace Mugabe, to succeed him.

The army denies that it staged a coup and claims it wanted to stop President Mugabe’s inner circle from hijacking “the revolution”.

Most Zimbabweans have only known life under Robert Mugabe.

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