Kuda Bwititi in LUANDA, Angola
ON what was his 80th birthday, President Mnangagwa chose to put in a full day shift on duty as he joined other Heads of State at the inauguration of Angolan President Joao Lourenco in Luanda yesterday, before he returned home late last night.
The President returned home just after 10pm and was welcomed at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe, senior Government officials and service chiefs.
Prior to his departure from Luanda, the Zimbabwean delegation that accompanied him home, presented him with a cake emblazoned with the national flag and sang a birthday song as he entered the plane.
The welcoming party at RGM International Airport also sang a birthday song for him.
In brief remarks to journalists soon after his return, President Mnangagwa said he was grateful to have reached the octogenarian milestone.
“I don’t feel any difference between yesterday and today. But of course one feels that at 80, one must be grateful that the Lord has kept you, up to that level. So, I am very happy, and I feel very good to continue working.”
Asked about President’s Lourenco’s inauguration, President Mnangagwa said; “It went very well, it was very well prepared, well organised, well attended and there was a military display that was most impressive.”
At President Lourenco’s inauguration, President Mnangagwa was joined by about 12 other Heads of State that graced the mega event from Portugal, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde, Congo Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea, Saharawi Republic, São Tomé and Principe, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Namibia.
President Lourenco, 68, was sworn in alongside his Vice President Esperanca da Costa, the nation’s first female VP.
In his inauguration speech that was delivered in Portuguese, President Lourenco rallied for unity in his oil-rich country, pledging to be “a President for all Angolans” regardless of their political affiliation.
He also promised to grow the economy and improve the welfare of all citizens.
The glamorous event, which was held at the Praca de Republica Square in Luanda, was attended by thousands of invited guests.
The crowd waved flags and screamed President Lourenco’s name to celebrate his inauguration for his second term in office.
The ceremony took place at the picturesque 120-metre high rocket-shaped monument that marks the final resting place of the nation’s founding father President Antonio Agostinho Neto and his successor Eduardo dos Santos.
Since assuming office in November 2017, President Mnangagwa has been known to put in a punishing work ethic in fulfilment of his vision to make Zimbabwe an upper middle economy by 2030. His dedication to duty was apparent even on his birthday.