Emmerson Mnangagwa has been sworn in as president of Zimbabwe, marking the end of Robert Mugabe’s 37-year reign over the country.
Tens of thousands of people on Friday streamed into the capital’s National Sports Stadium to witness Mnangagwa, a former vice president, take the oath of office.
Many ordinary Zimbabweans seem optimistic about Mnangagwa’s takeover, hoping that a change in command could set the struggling nation on a better path and improve its poor economic situation.
“I put my faith in him,” said Tinashe Sihlangu.
The 23-year-old said the incoming leadership gave him hope in finally finding work.
“We’ve already seen from his work as vice president that he’s a man of action, so I’ve no doubt that he can turn things around and create more jobs for us young people,” he told Al Jazeera.
Mnangagwa’s rise to power comes after weeks of drama in the wake of his dismissal by Mugabe that precipitated in a military takeover of the country on November 15.
Mugabe, who initially resisted calls to step down, stepped down on Tuesday.
According to reports, the 93-year-old former president has been granted immunity from prosecution and a benefits package as part of a negotiation deal.
Mnangagwa, who had fled to South Africa after his firing on November 6, promised job creation and economic stability during his first speech upon returning to the country.
“We want to grow our economy; we want jobs,” he saidon Wednesday, cheered on by thousands of enthusiastic supporters outside the headquarters of the ruling ZANU-PF party.
His pledge came amid warnings from the International Monetary Fund that “immediate action” was needed to address the current liquidity crisis.