AU chair, visiting Heads of State endorse ED IN SOLIDARITY . . . From right to left: Chairperson of the African Union and President of Rwanda Mr Paul Kagame, South African President Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, Zambian President Mr Edgar Lungu, DRC President Mr Joseph Kabila, Botswana President Mr Mokgweetsi Masisi and Lesotho Prime Minister Mr Thomas Thabane follow proceedings at the inauguration of President Mnangagwa at the National Sports Stadium in Harare yesterday. - (Picture by Tawanda Mudimu)

Felex Share Senior Reporter
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.

Former President of Tanzania Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete (left) chats with DRC President Joseph Kabila during President Mnangagwa’s inauguration ceremony on Sunday.

Zimbabwe – the leaders said – deserved maximum support and concerted efforts 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.

President Kagame of Rwanda

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.

President Mnangagwa chats with SA President Cyril Ramaphosa (left) and President Kagame of Rwanda (center) soon after he had taken oath of office.

“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 toward and build the nation.”

Mozambique Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosário weighed in: “We stand with you in your efforts to build the economy.”

Namibia’s 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.

Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane and wife Malsaiah also attended President Mnangagwa’s inauguration ceremony on Sunday.

“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 Mawampanga 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. Protest benefit no one.”

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