THOUSANDS of people gather at the giant National Sports Stadium in Harare today for the inauguration of the second President of Zimbabwe since Independence in 1980, President-designate Comrade Emmerson D. Mnangagwa.
It is an historic moment, the culmination of a torrent of ominous events which ended with the sudden resignation of outgoing President Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe on Tuesday.Cde Mugabe’s resignation led to an unprecedented eruption of euphoric celebrations in Harare and other cities running well into the early hours of Wednesday morning.
People from all walks of life and races mingled and danced on the streets to herald the coming in of a new leader. It did not matter which political party one was affiliated to, it was time to mark the end of an era, the beginning of an uncharted path.
The end of Cde Mugabe’s long reign was also marked by another milestone, a new bond between ordinary civilians and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces led by their Commander General Constantino Guveya Dominic Nyikadzino Chiwenga who took a stand at the most critical stage to stop a spirited attempt by the former First Lady Grace Mugabe to protect criminals around the outgoing President pursuant to her ambition to succeed her husband as President of Zimbabwe.
What has confounded the continent and beyond is the peace that has prevailed ever since these dramatic events unfolded. There were fears of mayhem and violence breaking out. The security services prudently maintained a lookout for possible mischief makers.
It is a fact of life that there are dark forces plotting how to mar the transition, hence the ZDF has been warning Zimbabweans to be wary of social media posts calling either for retributive attacks or other acts of lawlessness.
We want to thank Zimbabweans for the spirit of peace they have exhibited thus far. We only have one Zimbabwe which we all want to develop to prosperity. There are stories of how the late former president of Tanzania Julius Nyerere once described Zimbabwe as the crown jewel of Africa. While this was true at the time, that jewel was only admired by a small minority of the population.
Let us continue building the Zimbabwe we want; a Zimbabwe that embraces all races and ethnic groups; a Zimbabwe that accommodates everyone; a Zimbabwe that unleashes the full potential of all those who seize opportunities that abound in the country. A Zimbabwe where prosperity is shared by all.
Today marks a new dawn for Zimbabwe. It is, however, important that incoming President Mnangagwa is treated as a human being like the rest of us. In this age of miracles, people have a tendency to nurse unrealistic expectations about ending their poverty or creating employment opportunities.
When the President-designate addressed supporters at the Zanu-PF Headquarters on Wednesday evening, he touched on a matter that is uppermost in most people’s minds: jobs, jobs, jobs.
Already this shows someone who is fully aware of the multiple challenges facing the nation. But it doesn’t in any way suggest he can work miracles. We want to believe in his first official address today as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe he will outline a realistic programme of what he intends to do in the short period until the next general elections.
Secondly, if there is one thing that has denied this nation the chance to prove itself, it is the pursuit of divisive, partisan politics. These have been so polarising that we are un- able to speak with one voice even on damaging sanctions imposed on our nation for daring to assert our sovereignty by taking back our land.
It is a demon which needs to be exorcised in the spirit of national development. We share a destiny regardless of political affiliation. We can choose political parties, but we cannot choose our nationality.
We, therefore, hope that the spirit of amity that Zimbabweans exhibited in the past few days stays with us forever. The new President can only achieve as much as the support he gets from all of us. It is in this spirit that we implore all Zimbabweans of goodwill to render the new President maximum support as he embarks on the onerous task to make Zimbabwe a prosperous nation.
To those in the Diaspora who cannot attend the historic occasion in person, your prayers will be heard. This is your chance to make a mark in the new dispensation. Bring your talents and skills. They will make a huge difference.