Hundreds of Zimbabweans gathered outside the military terminal of Harare airport on Wednesday to celebrate the return of Emmerson Mnangagwa, Robert Mugabe’s former Vice President whose sacking sparked the political downfall of Africa’s oldest ruler.
After a brief exile in South Africa, Mnangagwa will be sworn in as president on Friday following the resignation of Robert Mugabe earlier this week
Mnangagwa was pushed aside earlier this month as unpopular first lady Grace Mugabe positioned herself to replace him and succeed her husband.
Mnangagwa then fled the country, claiming threats against his life.
That led the military to step in a week ago, opening the door for the ruling party and the people to publicly turn against the president.
But many are questioning whether the ‘longtime Mugabe ally’ will actually bring about much-needed change.
“Most Zimbabweans are looking to have new leadership, but then again will it be really new leadership since Emmerson Mnangagwa who has been appointed by Zanu-PF to be a sort of transitional President has been in the party and was Mugabe’s ally and also has a tainted past. With this new President, there is the hope that there will be the lifting of sanctions from both the EU and the US. Most Zimbabeans are hoping that this new leadership will take the country forward.” said Aricanews correspondent, Raziah Athman.
Mnangagwa’s swearing-in will be the first time Zimbabwe’s had a new president since its independence from Britain in 1980.