It is the dawn of a new political era.
An expectant populace and the world is glued to the television while some have thronged the National Sports Stadium to witness the inauguration into office of President-designate Emmerson Mnangagwa who is set to be sworn into office today (Friday).
He becomes the second president of the country after the resignation of Robert Mugabe on Tuesday.
Updates by John Mokwetsi/Felix Machiwenyika
President Mnangagwa’s inauguration speech at a glance
In his first speech as the President of Zimbabwe, Mnangagwa preached about peace and reconciliation saying that people should embrace each other for a new Zimbabwe.
He added that he will reach out to the globe by making Zimbabwe favourable to the international community.
He emphasised that the land reform programme was irreversible but encouraged land beneficiaries to utilize the land and he also said that the country was going to revive itself on the backdrop of agriculture among other things. He spoke about the continuation of the Command Agriculture initiative.
Mnangagwa declared that the upcoming 2018 elections will be held as scheduled in 2018 in the spirit of fairness.
He said he was going to be inclusive and draw his strength from diverse political backgrounds across the nation.
Economically he said we should attract foreign direct investment as Zimbabwe moves to grow.
He warned that civil servants must work hard saying that the business as usual approach was no longer attainable.
Listen to part of Mnangagwa’s speech here
12:50 Mnangagwa starts his national address.
12:24: Our readers react
12:13: What next. Our panelists try to answer that question here:
12:06: Mnangagwa is inspecting the guard of honour. It is reported that he had invited Mugabe to inspect with him.
Yesterday we reported Mnangagwa as saying
“I urge all Zimbabweans to remain patient and peaceful and desist from any form of vengeful retribution. It is not in the spirit of Ubuntu/Unhu (humaneness) which characterises the nature of our people. Let us not, therefore, allow criminal elements bent on destabilising the peace and tranquillity prevailing in our country, by either settling political or social scores outside the ambit of the law,” he said in a statement released through the Office of the President and Cabinet.
To demonstrate his reconciliatory approach, Mnangagwa reportedly invited Mugabe and his wife, Grace, to be part of delegates at his inauguration ceremony at the National Sports Stadium. They both did not turn up.
12:01: GUN SALUTE
11:54: Most trending twitter hashtags
11:50: Police Commissioner General, Augustine Chihuri who was rumoured to have been arrested when the military took over pledges to serve at the President.
11:49: General Constantino Chiwenga takes to the podium amid cheers and swears his allegiance to the President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
11:47: The security chiefs have saluted the new President
11:45: Mugabe was reportedly invited to the swearing in of his sidekick of 50 years who had turned enemy but he is not at the NSS
I Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa swear that as President of the Republic of Zimbabwe I will serve Zimbabwe and obey and defend the constitution of Zimbabwe, and that I will promote whatever will advance and oppose whatever may harm Zimbabwe.
Mnangagwa appends his signature. HE IS NOW THE PRESIDENT OF ZIMBABWE
11:34: Two weeks after being smuggled out of the country Mnangagwa is being sworn in by the new chief justice Luke Malaba, whom he brought in after amendments of the constitution recently. Mnangagwa was still Justice Minister then when he brought before Parliament the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill (now an Act) which changed the manner in which the Chief Justice, deputy Chief Justice and Judge President of the High Court are appointed. Malaba came in as Chief Justice after he passed public interviews.
11:31: Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda says the ZDF has done a great thing to usher a new political dispensation in Zimbabwe
11:29: Watch live an SABC live streaming of the inauguration
11:28: Watch the sacking of Mnangagwa from Zanu PF a fortnight ago
11:26: Jah Prayzah’s plug track, Mudhara achauya belts and echoes in the stadium and Mnanangagwa smiles. The last time Mnangagwa’s face was shown on TV was when Grace, the wife of the former president was telling him that he will be fired.
11:07: This is a day nobody expected to witness in Zimbabwe. The robust applause that the President elect, Mnangagwa and his wife received from the crowd was usually reserved for Mugabe and Grace. It is a carnival atmosphere but the question in most people sitting in the stadium is whether the country will recover from a myriad of problems like respect of rule of law, corruption, cash shortages and service delivery that had collapsed.
11:02: Zambia President Edgar Lungu has arrived.
11:00: Not surprising is the presence of Mugabe’s biggest critic on the block, Botswana President Ian Khama who showed his happiness by dancing recently to the news that Zimbabwe was going to have a new presidency.
10:56: SADC is here in support of Mnangagwa’s presidency. In attendance are South Africa’s Siyabonga Cwele who is the Minister of Telecommunications.