Felex Share, Harare Bureau
African Heads of State and Government, led by African Union chairperson President Paul Kagame of Rwanda yesterday endorsed President Mnangagwa saying his inauguration marked a positive turning point in the lives of Zimbabweans.
Zimbabwe – the leaders said – deserved maximum support and concerted effort will see its economy growing at a fast rate.
Six Heads of State, Prime Ministers, Vice-Presidents and special envoys from across the globe yesterday attended President Mnangagwa’s swearing-in ceremony at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.
Several former Heads of State and Government were also part of proceedings.
In an interview, President Kagame said Zimbabwe had set the bar high on the continent by holding free, fair and credible elections.
“First of all, we were following what was going on here in Zimbabwe in recent times of elections,” he said.
“We had the African Union observers coming to Zimbabwe to follow how elections were going. The impression we got was that the elections went very well and however, always there will be people with different grievances, legitimate or not. We are likely to have that kind of a thing. We came to Zimbabwe to express solidarity with the winners of the elections, President Mnangagwa, Zanu-PF and the people of Zimbabwe because these elections are important to Zimbabwe. They mark a turning of a corner for Zimbabwe given the history as we all know. Zimbabwe is looking for a way forward to rebuild itself. So we are here to support Zimbabwe, the people of Zimbabwe, leaders of Zimbabwe so that Zimbabwe can normalise again.”
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said the inauguration marked the dawn of a new era.
“Today is inauguration day and the dawn of a new era,” he said.
“Zimbabweans should take this as a moment to build on their democracy and move forward. There should be peace and even to those who lost the elections, it is time to work together and build the economy.”
Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi said: “We are happy to be here. A successful and peaceful Zimbabwe means a peaceful and successful Botswana. It is time to move forward and build the nation.”
Mozambique Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosário weighed in saying: “we stand with you in your efforts to build the economy.”
Namibia ambassador to Zimbabwe Mrs Balbina Daes Pienaar, whose country is the Sadc chair, said the inauguration marked the beginning of better things.
“It’s a historic day not only in the history of Zimbabwe but entire Sadc and the region at large,” she said.
“Namibia is chair of Sadc. We warmly congratulate Zimbabwe on the very peaceful election process they have gone through and especially on this milestone event where we are witnessing the inauguration of the second executive President of Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe is a founder member of Sadc and having the President being inaugurated means a lot of growth in Sadc. Regional and infrastructural integration has been a priority because it advances economic growth.
Well done Zimbabwe! Zimbabwe has set the pace for the region. We believe that this is the beginning of better things to come. Peace and security are a priority if we want to steer Sadc to greater heights especially in terms of economic growth.”
Dean of African diplomats and Democratic Republic of Congo Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Mwawampanga Mwanananga said the election process was “clean and clear.”
“Today the people of Zimbabwe have to be proud of what they have done, showing the world that an election can be organised and you can invite any observer that you want to come and observe,” he said.
“The opposition has a big role to play and they should not take their supporters for granted. Protests benefit no one.”