Zimbabwe's Mnangagwa to be sworn in as president on Friday

 

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe’s former vice president Emmerson will be sworn in as president on Friday following the resignation of Robert Mugabe after nearly four decades in power, state broadcaster ZBC reported on Wednesday.

Mnangagwa, who fled for his safety after Mugabe sacked him two weeks ago, will land at Manyame Airbase in Harare at 6pm (1600 GMT), ZBC said. Mnangagwa’s sacking prompted the military takeover that forced Mugabe out.

Mugabe’s downfall came suddenly for a man once feted across Africa as a liberation hero for leading his country to independence from Britain in 1980 after a war.

RELATED: People of Zimbabwe celebration dismissal of Robert Mugabe

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People of Zimbabwe celebration dismissal of Robert Mugabe
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People of Zimbabwe celebration dismissal of Robert Mugabe
Residents attend a prayer meeting called to celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader of the ruling ZANU-PF's central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 19, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Residents attend a prayer meeting called to celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader of the ruling ZANU-PF's central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 19, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Residents attend a prayer meeting called to celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader of the ruling ZANU-PF's central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 19, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Pastor Evan Mawarire, leader of the #ThisFlag movement, addresses a prayer meeting called to celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader at an extraordinary meeting of the ruling ZANU-PF's central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 19, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Residents attend a prayer meeting called to celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader of the ruling ZANU-PF's central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 19, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Delegates celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader at an extraordinary meeting of the ruling ZANU-PF's central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 19, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Delegates celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader at an extraordinary meeting of the ruling ZANU-PF's central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 19, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Delegates celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader at an extraordinary meeting of the ruling ZANU-PF's central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe November 19, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Delegates celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader at an extraordinary meeting of the ruling ZANU-PF's central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe November 19, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
People walk past torn billboards of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) in Harare, Zimbabwe November 19, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down cheer in front of a military vehicle in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down gather outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, next to the Zimbabwe Tourist Information Centre in central London, Britain November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mary Turner
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down gather outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, next to the Zimbabwe Tourist Information Centre in central London, Britain November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mary Turner
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down gather outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, next to the Zimbabwe Tourist Information Centre in central London, Britain November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mary Turner
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down gather outside the Zimbabwe Tourist Information Centre in central London, Britain November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mary Turner
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down gather outside the Zimbabwe Tourist Information Centre in central London, Britain November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mary Turner
A man calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down protests in Harare, Zimbabwe November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down take to the streets in Harare, Zimbabwe November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down take to the streets in Harare, Zimbabwe November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Protesters march calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down in Cape Town, South Africa, November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down take to the streets in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down take to the streets in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo TEMPLATE OUT
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down march in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down take to the streets in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Protesters calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down take to the streets in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Protesters gather calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down, in Harare, Zimbabwe November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
A man carries a poster calling for Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe to step down as Zimbabweans take to the streets in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
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The 93-year-old had clung on for a week after the army takeover, with ZANU-PF urging him to go. He finally resigned on Tuesday moments after parliament began an impeachment process seen as the only legal way to force him out.

People danced in the streets of Harare and car horns blared at the news that the Mugabe era was finally over. Some brandished posters of Mnangagwa and army chief General Constantino Chiwenga.

Speaker of parliament Jacob Mudenda is due to hold a news conference at 1030 GMT.

Mugabe led Zimbabwe from relative prosperity to economic ruin, presiding over the forced takeover of white-owned farms at the end of the century, which devastated agricultural foreign exchange earnings and led to hyperinflation.

Alleged human rights abuses and flawed elections prompted many Western countries to impose sanctions in the early-2000s, that worsened the economic problems.

Though new investment from China softened the blow, most of Zimbabwe’s 16 million people remain poor, squeezed by chronic currency shortages and sky-high unemployment.

“DARK PAST”

If Mnangagwa can arrest Zimbabwe’s economic decline, deliver clean elections next year and woo back bilateral support from Western states, new investment could begin to flow.

“The transition from Mugabe to Mnangagwa could mark a major and positive shift and put Zimbabwe back on the foreign investor radar,” head of equity research at emerging market bank Exotix Capital, Hasnain Malik, said in a note.

“Many of the ingredients of a great frontier market are in place in Zimbabwe: human capital, infrastructure, natural resources and diaspora.”

RELATED: Photos of Mnangagwa

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Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (R) shares a joke with his vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa during Mugabe's birthday celebrations at Great Zimbabwe in Masvingo, February 27, 2016. Mugabe marked his 92nd birthday at a nearly $1 million party organised by supporters in a drought-stricken area on Saturday, drawing criticism from opponents who said the celebrations were an affront to ordinary Zimbabweans. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Zimbabwe Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa listens as President Robert Mugabe delivers his state of the nation address to the country's parliament in Harare, August 25, 2015. Mugabe pinned his hopes on China helping to revive Zimbabwe's struggling economy on Tuesday and outlined reforms to investment rules to try to attract more capital. In his first state of the nation address in eight years, the 91-year-old president, who has presided over economic collapse and diplomatic isolation since he came to power in 1980, said strong growth was just around the corner. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Newly appointed Zimbabwean Deputy President Emmerson Mnangagwa smiles at the headquarters of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU (PF) in Harare, December 10, 2014. With his appointment as official deputy to 90-year-old Mugabe, justice minister Mnangagwa, a secretive hardliner known as 'The Crocodile', is well set as the eventual successor to Africa's oldest head of state. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo (ZIMBABWE - Tags: POLITICS HEADSHOT)
Zimbabwe's new vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa (R) is congratulated by supporters in Harare December 10, 2014. Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe appointed justice minister Mnangagwa as his new deputy on Wednesday, making the hardliner known as "The Crocodile" the most likely successor to Africa's oldest head of state. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo (ZIMBABWE - Tags: POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Zimbabwe acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa speaks during the funeral ceremony of Peter Chanetsa at the National Heroes Acre in Harare, on January 7, 2017. Former governor Peter Chanesta died on January 2, 2017. / AFP / JEKESAI NJIKIZANA (Photo credit should read JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Emmerson Mnangagwa, Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF election agent addresses a press conference in Harare on May 02, 2008. Mnangagwa said Mugabe is ready to contest an election run-off after results showed he was beaten in the first round by the opposition leader. Official results released on May 2, 2008 by the electoral commission showed that Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai won 47.9 percent against 43.2 percent for the 84-year-old Mugabe in the first round on March 29. AFP PHOTO / Alexander Joe (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)
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However, there are doubts about Mnangagwa’s reform credentials, while a large section of the Zimbabwean public are hostile toward a man who, like Mugabe, stands accused of participating in repression.

He was internal security chief in the mid-1980s when Mugabe deployed a North Korean-trained brigade against rebels during which 20,000 civilians were killed, according to rights groups.

“The dark past is not going to disappear. They will be following him around like a piece of chewing gum on his shoe,” International Crisis Group’s southern Africa senior consultant Piers Pigou said.

“For him to really be seen to be doing the right thing, he’s going to have to introduce policies that fundamentally undermine the power structures of ZANU-PF, through a shift to genuine political pluralism and a decoupling of the party and state.”

Nicknamed “Ngwena”, or crocodile in the Shona language, an animal famed in Zimbabwean lore for its stealth and ruthlessness, Mnangagwa issued a statement from hiding on Tuesday calling on Zimbabweans to unite to rebuild the country.

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