WASHINGTON DC —
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe was among several high level government officials, who travelled to Nigeria for the inauguration of new president, Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday.
Mr. Buhari, who succeeds Goodluck Jonathan, is the first Nigerian to defeat a sitting president in popular elections. He took the oath of office during a festive ceremony in the capital, Abuja, surrounded by banners featuring the green and white of the Nigerian flag.
In his inauguration speech, the retired army major general and former head of state of Nigeria in the 1980s, pledged to beat out the militant group Boko Haram, which has destabilized parts of Nigeria, and spread fear among citizens because of its ruthless and violent attacks, including kidnappings. Mr. Buhari committed to rescuing the 219 girls, kidnapped in April 2014, by the militant group, that he labelled, "a mindless, godless group far removed from Islam."
Mr. Buhari also promised to tackle corruption, improve the economy and elevate Nigeria’s standing in the region and the world.
Joining President Mugabe and dozens of other heads of state at the inauguration was U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry who headed a delegation from the United States.
Outgoing Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan attended, smiling and wearing his signature broad-brimmed hat as he stood next to his successor following the swearing-in.
Analysts observing the developments, expressed hope for the continent, often cited for flawed elections, that favor the incumbent, and lack of smooth democratic transitions.
London-based Zimbabwean political analyst, Clifford Mashiri, said the successful election and inauguration of Mr. Buhari was encouraging, and something African countries should strive to achieve.
Mr. Mashiri credited Mr. Jonathan, who attended the inauguration, for respecting the outcome of the election, and rejecting old practices of rigging elections and spreading fear among people.
Mashiri said it was significant for President Mugabe, who is the chair of the AfricanUnion, to be present at such an event, adding that it’s possible that he too could one day hand over power to an opposition.