“The people have spoken,” says Zimbabwe’s new leader
Zimbabwe’s new leader Emmerson Mnangagwa told a cheering crowd in Harare on Wednesday that the country was entering a new stage of democracy following Robert Mugabe’s removal as president after nearly four decades in power.
Mnangagwa returned to the country earlier in the day, having fled for his safety when the 93-year-old former leader sacked him as vice president two weeks ago to smooth a path to the succession for his much younger wife Grace, Reuters reports.
“The people have spoken. The voice of the people is the voice of God,” Mnangagwa told thousands of supporters gathered outside the ruling ZANU-PF party’s offices in the capital.
“Today we are witnessing the beginning of a new and unfolding democracy.”
Zimbabwe was once one of Africa’s most promising economies but suffered decades of decline as Mugabe pursued policies that included the violent seizure of white-owned commercial farms and money-printing that led to hyperinflation.
Most of its 16 million people remain poor and face currency shortages and sky-high unemployment, something Mnangagwa promised to address.
“We want to grow our economy, we want peace in our country, we want jobs, jobs, jobs,” he told the crowd, adding: “The will of the people will always, always succeed.”
Mnangagwa’s dismissal was the trigger for the army and former political allies to move against Mugabe, feted as an independence hero when Zimbabwe broke with former colonial power Britain in 1980 but later feared as a despot. He resigned as president on Tuesday as parliament began an impeachment process, after resisting pressure to do so for a week.
People danced in the streets following his downfall, some brandishing posters of Mnangagwa and army chief General Constantino Chiwenga, who led the takeover.
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