Emerson Mnangagwa has been sworn in as Zimbabwe President in a ceremony at a packed stadium in the capital, Harare.
Taking his oath of office, the 75-year-old former security chief vowed to uphold the constitution of the former British colony and protect the rights of all Zimbabwe’s 16 million citizens.
The swearing in follows the dramatic departure of Robert Mugabe after 37 years of authoritarian rule.
The former vice-president’s dismissal earlier this month led the ruling Zanu-PF party and the army to intervene and force Mugabe to quit. Mnangagwa, who had fled the country, returned from exile on Wednesday.
Nicknamed “the Crocodile” for his ruthlessness, it was Mnangagwa’s driving ambition to take over as a leader which set off a bitter succession battle with Mugabe’s 52-year-old wife Grace, triggering the crisis that toppled the long-serving president, who resigned on Tuesday.
A former close Mugabe ally, Mnangagwa’s initial fall from grace appears to have been engineered by the first lady, who lobbied her husband to back her own political ambitions. It was the climax of a long feud between the pair over who would replace the ailing and increasingly frail 93-year-old leader. But, Mnangagwa’s dismissal alarmed the army, with the generals quickly moving in, staging a military takeover which brought him down within days.