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Zimbabwe's New President Mnangagwa Swears in Cabinet


Cabinet Ministers are sworn in at State House in Harare, Zimbabwe, Dec. 4, 2017.

Zimbabwe's new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has sworn in his Cabinet. He immediately called for unity as his government attends to the broken economy.

It is the first time in Zimbabwe’s 37-year history the oath is not being led by Robert Mugabe.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa officiates at the swearing in ceremony for his cabinet at State House in Harare, Dec. 4, 2017.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa officiates at the swearing in ceremony for his cabinet at State House in Harare, Dec. 4, 2017.

The 75-year-old Mnangagwa answered some questions following the ceremony.

“The new Cabinet is just to finish the term of the former president [Robert Mugabe] which is a period of six to seven months. It has been hectic and I believe that my team will withstand the challenge. I want them [Zimbabweans] united, we must grow our economy,” he said.

Mnangagwa took power last month in a military-led coup after the 93-year-old Mugabe fired him as vice president.

Members of Zimbabwe’s Cabinet took the oath of office, Dec. 04, 2017, to work under new President Emmerson Mnangagwa (2nd left).
Members of Zimbabwe’s Cabinet took the oath of office, Dec. 04, 2017, to work under new President Emmerson Mnangagwa (2nd left).

The new president has not indicated if he will seek a fresh term in elections expected by middle of next year.

A few meters from the State House, street vendor Vengai Muhwahwa commented about the new Cabinet.

With Zimbabwe's unemployment rate estimated to be as high as 85 percent, informal trading has become the order of day in the country, but even the street vendors are struggling. They have occupied almost all free space in Harare's streets.
With Zimbabwe's unemployment rate estimated to be as high as 85 percent, informal trading has become the order of day in the country, but even the street vendors are struggling. They have occupied almost all free space in Harare's streets.

He said he hopes the government addresses the problem of cash shortages at banks instead of relying on plastic money, and he said it must create jobs. He said street vendors want to be chased by employers so that we get off the streets.”

Next to him is another street vendor, Silas Mawera.

He said the composition of the new Cabinet is OK, and Zimbaweans are expecting it to quickly address the economy so vendors do not have to remain in the streets.

A vendor sells dolls at an intersection of Harare's streets, Oct. 2017.
A vendor sells dolls at an intersection of Harare's streets, Oct. 2017.

Besides attending to the economy, Zimbabwe’s new president must unite his own ZANU-PF party, which was divided for years over who should succeed Mugabe.

Many party members backed Mnangagwa, but others supported Mugabe's wife Grace. The Mugabes have been granted immunity from prosecution and remain in Zimbabwe, living as private citizens.

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