Nicknamed “the Crocodile” for his ruthlessness, Emmerson Mnangagwa who took over Friday as Zimbabwe’s president, is a hardliner with ties to the military who could prove as authoritarian as his mentor Robert Mugabe.

It was his driving ambition to take over as the 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.

When Mnangagwa was dismissed as vice president by Mugabe on November 6, it initially looked like he’d been outfoxed by the first lady, forcing him to flee the country.

But the situation quickly turned on its head, with his dismissal triggering a military takeover and mass street protests, which ended with Mugabe’s ouster and Mnangagwa catapulted to centre stage.

With the nation still reeling from Mugabe’s lightning demise, the 75-year-old made a triumphant return home on Wednesday and was sworn in as president on Friday.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose removal as vice president by Robert Mugabe led to the veteran leader’s ouster, was sworn in as Zimbabwe’s new president on Friday.

“I Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa swear that as the president of the republic of Zimbabwe I will be faithful to Zimbabwe and obey, uphold and defend the constitution and all other laws of Zimbabwe,” he said as he took the oath of office before the chief justice, watched by a jubilant crowd of tens of thousands of people.

 

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