President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe has described Robert Mugabe, his predecessor, as a “father, mentor and comrade-in-arms”.
Mnangagwa said this on Friday while addressing the people shortly after his inauguration.
He expressed his resolve and commitment to “a better Zimbabwe”, swearing to “protect and promote the rights of the people of Zimbabwe”.
Mnangagwa added that he was “not oblivious to the many Zimbabweans from across the political and racial divide who have helped make this day”.
“The task at hand is that of rebuilding our country,” he said.
“I am required to serve our country as the president of all citizens regardless of colour, creed, religion, tribe, totem or political affiliation.”
His swearing-in is coming few days after Mugabe was forced to step down after ruling for 37 years.
The former Zimbabwean president had sacked Mnangagwa to apparently pave the way for Grace, his wife, to succeed him. This created friction in the ruling ZANU-PF.
After issuing a warning to Mugabe, the military seized power and placed the 93-year-old ruler under house arrest.
A government source had said that Mugabe, who initially resisted pressure to quit, struck an immunity deal with the military and the party leadership.