On Friday, 24th November 2017, Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in as the new president of the country. This marks the end of the dictatorial rule of former president Robert Mugabe who ruled the country for 37 years. A large crowd gathered at the national stadium in Harare witnessed the swearing in of Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was nominated by the ruling Zanu PF party.

Emmerson is expected to rule Zimbabwe until the country holds its next election. He is expected to fix the country’s economic problems which include increasing the money supply, reducing unemployment and producing its own currency. However, there are concerns that Mnangagwa will bring the same style of Mugabe’s leadership, having been a very close ally.

Meet Emmerson Mnangagwa the man that took over from tyrant Robert Mugabe

Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa is 75 years old. He was born on Sept. 15, 1942 in the central region of Zvishavane. Zvishavane is a mining town. He is a Karanga, the largest clan of Zimbabwe’s majority Shona community. His wife is Auxilia, a Zanu-PF member of parliament since 2008. They both have one child.

He was the right-hand man to Robert Mugabe

Mnangagwa and Mugabe in parliament, December 2016. Photograph – Aaron Ufumeli: EPA

He held several positions from 1980 to 2014, which includes Zimbabwe’s National Security Minister, Minister of Finance, and Minister of Defence. He helped during Zimbabwe’s war of independence in the 1960s and 1970s.

He has been accused of the same human rights abuses and similar corruption cases as Mugabe

He was accused of arranging a crackdown in the 1980s in which thousands of members of the Ndebele ethnic group were killed. He was also accused of orchestrating the deadly violence in 2008 in a bid to rig the polls for Mugabe, a claim he denies. He was an avid supporter of Mugabe’s most controversial economic policy — the expropriation and redistribution of land that had been controlled by white farmers since the era of colonialism.

He is widely known as “Ngwena”, the Shona word for crocodile.

Thousands of people wait for the arrival of Emmerson Mnangagwa at an air force base in Harare on Wednesday. Photograph- Kim Ludbrook:EPA

Ngwena was the nickname given to him during a liberation war. He joined the movement to liberate what was then Rhodesia, a British colony, from white rule.

He is a trained activist and military man

At 16, he was part of a plot to blow up a railway line. His accomplices were executed immediately but a priest appealed to the British to spare him because of his age. Instead, he was given a 10-year sentence in prison, where he devoted himself to studying.

According to The New York Times, after his release, he earned a law degree from the University of Zambia. He left the legal practice to join the liberation movement in Mozambique, then a Portuguese colony, where he met Mugabe and became his personal assistant.

He received military training from China and Egypt. He also attended the Beijing School of Ideology.

Relationship with the international community

He has a good relationship with China. According to The Guardian, he has maintained financial and professional links to China and even sent one of his sons to study there.

Mnangagwa then joined Zimbabwe’s liberation movement in Mozambique in the 1970s, where he met Mugabe and became his personal assistant and bodyguard, according to The New York Times.

According to a United Nations report in 2001, Mnangagwa was seen as “the architect of the commercial activities of Zanu-PF”.

He left Zimbabwe for South Africa after being sacked by Mugabe

People wait for the inauguration ceremony to swear in Zimbabwe’s former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa as president in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

According to BBC, Mnangagwa had to flee because his security guards warned of plots to kill him. After leaving Zimbabwe, Mnangagwa issued a statement from an unknown location that said, as cited by the AP: “I will be communicating with you soon and shall return to Zimbabwe to lead you.”


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