Emmerson Mnangagwa urged Zimbabwe to unite behind his presidency on Sunday, as he took the oath of office following a divisive election that U.S. observers said had called the country’s democratic credentials into question.
Thousands of Zimbabweans, some bussed in, and foreign leaders including South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa and Paul Kagame of Rwanda gathered at Harare’s national stadium for Sunday’s swearing-in.
“I exhort us to commit ourselves collectively to develop our motherland… what unites us is greater than what could ever divide us,” Mnangagwa told election participants in his inauguration speech.
He also reaffirmed pre-election pledges to revive Zimbabwe’s crippled economy and settle outstanding debts with foreign lenders, and reiterated he would call an independent inquiry into a “regrettable and unacceptable” army crackdown following the vote in which six people died.
“Now is the time for us all to unite as a nation and grow our economy,” Mnangagwa said.
He took the oath before Chief Justice Luke Malaba who, together with eight other judges, had ruled on Friday against opposition leader Chamisa’s petition.
In the election, Mnangagwa just reached the threshold of 50 percent of votes that he needed to avoid a runoff.