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26/08/2018  HARARE, Zimbabwe

 

26/08/2018  HARARE, Zimbabwe

Jussa Kudherezera

Zimbabwe on Sunday inaugurated a president for the second time in nine months as the country once jubilant over the fall of longtime leader Robert Mugabe is now largely subdued by renewed harassment of the opposition and a bitterly disputed election. The military-backed President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who again took the oath of office, faces the mammoth task of rebuilding a worsening economy and uniting a nation divided by a vote that many hoped would deliver change. The 75-year-old Mnangagwa, who took power from his mentor Mugabe with the military’s help in November , said “my arms are outstretched” to main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa after the Constitutional Court on Friday rejected opposition claims of vote-rigging and upheld the president’s narrow July 30 victory. Mnangagwa told the crowd that “our democracy has indeed come of age” and he invited all political parties to unite and “develop the motherland.” The 40-year-old Chamisa on Saturday said he respectfully rejects the court ruling and called the inauguration “false.” president and ruling ZANU-PF party filled the 60,000-seat National Sports Stadium in the capital, Harare, some catching buses and trucks in villages hundreds of kilometers away. The heads of state of South Africa, Congo, Rwanda and Zambia and elsewhere attended. Mnangagwa in his speech said his government would work to transform the economy into a middle-income one by 2030 by modernizing infrastructure, fighting corruption and putting “jobs, jobs and more jobs” at the heart of his policies. Mnangagwa himself remains under U.S. sanctions — and open the door to investment. State-run media this month estimated Zimbabwe’s debt arrears at $5.6 billion.

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