Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa speaks during the ruling party Zanu-PF's central committee meeting in Harare, Zimbabwe, Dec. 14, 2017. Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday vowed a crackdown on corruption as he warned that he will name and shame all those who externalized funds if they fail to return them. (Xinhua/Shaun Jusa)
HARARE, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday opened the one-day extra ordinary congress of the governing ZANU-PF party and pledged to be a president of a united, non-racial Zimbabwe.
The party congress endorsed Mnangagwa as the party's leader and presidential candidate for the 2018 elections.
In his first address to the congress since taking over as president and first secretary of the party, Mnangagwa said the party, which had been hijacked by the destructive G40 faction, should urgently repair and reposition itself as the party that represents the future of the nation.
"We must all return to source to repair the party and regain the trust of the people," the president said.
"We should not be a party of the past. We must be a party for the future, a party for prosperity and posterity."
Mnangagwa made an impassioned plea for unity in the politically polarized nation, pledging that he will be a president for all Zimbabweans regardless of race, tribe or ethnicity.
"My ascendency to the helm of the party does not mean the defeat of one faction and installation of another. My ascendency does not mean the rise in fortunes of any particular region, tribe or totem.
"My presidency is about a united ZANU-PF, a lifelong party with a national outlook. I stand before you therefore as a president of a united and non-racial Zimbabwe. I am a president for all, men and women, the young and old, rich and poor and the well and the sick," Mnangagwa said.
The president predicted a bright future for Zimbabwe following the military intervention last month which led to the resignation of former president Robert Mugabe and the ushering in of his new administration.
He saluted the Zimbabwe Defense Forces for the peaceful manner in which it executed the intervention which became known as "Operation Restore Legacy."
"Operation Restore Legacy was about the nation, its past, present and future. It was about securing a future for our current and future generations," he said.