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Printable Page Headline News   Return to Menu - Page 1 2 3 5 6 7 8 13
 
 
Zimbabwe to Swear in New President     11/22 06:14

   HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Zimbabwe's recently fired vice president was set to 
return on Wednesday to be sworn in as the country's new leader, after Robert 
Mugabe announced his stunning resignation during impeachment proceedings 
against him.

   The state-run broadcaster reported that Emmerson Mnangagwa would arrive at 
Manyame Air Base in the capital, Harare, at 6 p.m., and the Parliament speaker 
said he would be sworn in Friday after the ruling party notified him of its 
nomination of Mnangagwa to replace Mugabe until the end of the term next year.

   Singing and cheering, several hundred people have gathered outside the air 
force base in anticipation of Mnangagwa's arrival.

   Some carried printed signs with images of Mnangagwa, suggesting a 
significant level of organization behind the jubilant turnout. Signs read 
"Welcome back, our hero" and "True to your word, you're back. Welcome."

   A man in the crowd, Godwin Nyarugwa, said he was "very ecstatic" and that 
"we need change in this country, change in everything."

   Zimbabwe has been through "crisis after crisis" and Mnangagwa seems best 
suited to lead the country forward, said Nyarugwa, who has several university 
degrees but no job.

   "We have to try him and see," he said.  "If he doesn't come up with 
something, we need to change him as well."

   The air force base where demonstrators are congregating is adjacent to 
Harare's international airport.

   Zimbabweans are still reeling from Mugabe's resignation Tuesday. They 
cheered and danced in the streets of Harare late into the night, thrilled to be 
rid of a leader whose early promise after the end of white minority rule in 
1980 was overtaken by economic collapse, government dysfunction and human 
rights violations.

   Now the focus turns to Mnangagwa, Mugabe's longtime deputy who was pushed 
aside earlier this month as unpopular first lady Grace Mugabe positioned 
herself to replace him and succeed her husband. Mnangagwa 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.

   It was not clear what the 93-year-old Robert Mugabe and his wife would do 
next. Mugabe, who was the world's oldest head of state, said in his resignation 
letter that legal procedures should be followed to install a new president "no 
later than tomorrow."

   The privately run Newsday newspaper reported that Mnangagwa would be met on 
arrival in Harare by army commander Constantino Chiwenga and ruling party 
officials and then was expected "to meet Mugabe for a briefing."

   Zimbabweans woke up to the first day in 37 years without Mugabe in power. 
With some nursing hangovers, they looked over newspaper headlines such as 
"Adios Bob and Ta-ta President."

   "I think this change of government is like a new breath of fresh air right 
across the country," said Patrick Musira on the streets of the capital. 
"Everyone was engulfed with excitement and they are looking for a better 
future, a brighter future with work."

   Zimbabwe's new leaders are faced with a once-prosperous nation whose economy 
has collapsed, sending well-educated but frustrated young people into desperate 
work as street vendors. Many have left the country altogether.

   Mnangagwa is a former justice and defense minister who served for decades as 
Mugabe's enforcer, a role that earned him the nickname "Crocodile." Many 
opposition supporters believe he was instrumental in the army killings of 
thousands of people when Mugabe moved against a political rival in the 1980s.

   So far in the current political turmoil Mnangagwa has used inclusive 
language, saying in a statement hours before Mugabe's resignation that all 
Zimbabweans should work together to advance their nation.

   "Never should the nation be held at ransom by one person ever again, whose 
desire is to die in office at whatever cost to the nation," Mnangagwa said.

   In a new commentary, the state-run Zimbabwe Herald newspaper stressed the 
importance of presidential term limits, saying Zimbabweans will "never again go 
back into a box of silence."

   It added: "We hope that when (Mnangagwa) finishes his stint in State House 
the cheers will be for a job well done ... He has the best wishes of most 
Zimbabweans, at least today."


(KA)

 
 
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