Spotlight: Zimbabwe embraces new president, int'l community urges stability

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-23 17:33:57|Editor: liuxin
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BEIJING, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe's incoming president Emmerson Mnangagwa is set to be sworn in on Friday to serve the remainder of long-serving former president Robert Mugabe's term until the general election next year, the state broadcaster said Wednesday.

Greeted with cheers by supporters at the headquarters of the ruling ZANU-PF party, Mnangagwa, the 75-year-old former vice president, made his first public appearance Wednesday after being sacked by Mugabe on Nov. 6.

The termination led the military to move in and kick off a series of extraordinary events ending in Mugabe stepping down Tuesday amid impeachment proceedings.

Mnangagwa thanked Zimbabweans for receiving him back into the country, saying, "Today we are witnessing the unfolding of democracy in our country...I appeal to all genuine, patriotic Zimbabweans to come together so that we grow our economy."

A week after Mugabe fired Mnangagwa, his political ally for more than 40 years, army commander Constantino Chiwenga issued a rare public rebuke, saying the military would "step in" to calm political tensions and criticizing the handling of the once-prosperous southern African nation's crumbling economy.

Armored personnel carriers were seen on the outskirts of capital Harare. The military moved in overnight, taking control of the state-run broadcaster.

The 93-year-old Mugabe and his wife Grace were reportedly put under house arrest by the military since Nov. 15 on allegations of disloyalty and deceit.

Mugabe made his first public appearance a day later, attending a graduation ceremony at the Zimbabwe Open University.

The founding father of Zimbabwe, accused of allowing the formation of cabals who clouded his judgement, was deposed by the ruling party Central Committee as party leader on Sunday.

The same day, the party reinstated Mnangagwa and nominated him to replace Mugabe as its leader.

Mugabe was given until mid-day on Monday to resign, but he ignored the deadline, prompting Zanu-PF legislators to start parliamentary impeachment proceedings against him.

As the impeachment proceedings got underway, Mugabe abruptly resigned Tuesday, ending almost four decades of near total dominance of Zimbabwe's political landscape.

The ruling party later paid tribute to the ousted leader, who had led Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, for his contribution.

Zanu-PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said Tuesday that people must "acknowledge that (Mugabe) did so much for the liberation of Zimbabwe and indeed as prime minister and president, post-independence."

The international community, meanwhile, urged all parties in Zimbabwe to exercise restraint and maintain political stability and development.

Chairman of the African Union (AU) Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat welcomed Mugabe's decision to step down, saying it will go down in history as an act of statesmanship that can only bolster his political legacy.

"(The AU) looks forward to Zimbabwe continuing to play a leading role in the affairs of the African continent, as a democratic and prosperous state meeting the aspirations of its people," Mahamat said.

Following Mugabe's resignation, South Africa's members of parliament Wednesday called on Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of state and government to provide strategic assistance to all stakeholders in Zimbabwe, if so requested.

Siphosezwe Masango, chairperson of the South African Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation, said the impact of Mugabe's resignation will be realized once the celebrations have died down.

The committee hoped that regional bodies like the SADC and the AU, as well as the United Nations, would be able to provide collaborative and comprehensive assistance if called upon, he added.

Gwede Mantashe, general secretary of South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress, said in Johannesburg Wednesday that they are ready to work with Zimbabwe to rebuild the country.

"We must continue to respect and celebrate Mugabe for the role he played over the last decade. We will continue working with comrades in Zimbabwe. We will not tell them...who should lead," he said.

The European Union (EU) said in a statement that Mugabe's resignation showed that he has listened to the voice of the people.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said the new government must now work on consolidating constitutional order and ensuring that inclusive dialogue is established to encourage acceleration of key reforms in the country.

China's policy toward Zimbabwe will not change, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said at a daily press briefing Wednesday. China expects to enhance cooperation with Zimbabwe under the principles of equality and mutual benefit.

Lu said China respected Mugabe's decision to resign. "He remains a good friend to the Chinese people," the official said, adding that "China respects Zimbabwean people's choice" and hopes that other countries will not meddle in Zimbabwe's internal affairs.