The Sunday Mail
Levi Mukarati Deputy News Editor
This time last year, Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa appeared to be on the ropes, hounded by a rabid faction in Zanu-PF that had surrounded then President Mr Robert Mugabe.
Less than a year later — after being poisoned, sacked and forced to briefly leave the country — he will be inaugurated for his first his first five-year term as Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, marking the dawn of the Second Republic.
Joining tens of thousands of Zimbabweans who are expected to converge at the National Sports Stadium in Harare today for the momentous ceremony will be Heads of State and/or their representatives from Sadc and beyond.
On Friday, the Constitutional Court unanimously threw out a challenge against the outcome of the Presidential election brought by opposition MDC Alliance leader Mr Chamisa, paving way for today’s historic inauguration.
As of last night, The Sunday Mail had it on good authority that the entire Sadc region would be represented at various high levels. President-elect Mnangagwa is the newly-minted Deputy Chair of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation.
Heads of State expected to be in attendance today are Presidents Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa), Edgar Lungu (Zambia), Mogkweetsi Masisi (Botswana) and Africa Union chairperson Paul Kagame (Rwanda), and Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.
President Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Ms Diko kusela confirmed to The Sunday Mail that: “Yes His Exerllency Cyril Ramaphosa will be there for the inauguration ceremony.”
President Masisi yesterday indicated on micro-blogging site Twitter that he woud be coming to Harare along with former President Festus Mogae.
“His Excellency the President will be accompanied by the former President of the Republic of Botswana, His Excellency Mr Festus G Mogae, Honourable Dr Unity Dow, Minister of International Affairs and Co-operation, and senior government officials.
“The Ministry wishes to further inform that former President Lt-Gen Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama will not be joining the delegation due to prior commitments.”
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission declared — and the ConCourt affirmed — Cde Mnangagwa as the winner of the Presidential election with 50,67 percent of the vote, ahead of nearest challenger Mr Chamisa’s 44,3 percent. The inauguration had been put on hold because of the ConCourt challenge.
Section 94(1)(b) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe says “in the event of a challenge to the validity of their (President and Vice-Presidents) election, within 48 hours after the Constitutional Court has declared them to be winners”.
The President must take an oath of office before the Chief Justice or the next most senior judge available.
Speaking to journalists yesterday morning after a Post-Election Leadership Prayer Breakfast organised by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches in Harare and flanked by Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, President-elect Mnangagwa said: “The inauguration is not at my personal determination, it is determined by the constitution. The CJ, the Chief Justice, made it abundantly clear that the Constitution provides that the process of inauguration, post the decision of the constitutional court, is within 48 hours.
“The brothers and sisters in the media fraternity know what 48 hours are. You should have begun counting from yesterday (Friday) and determine when the 48 hours expire. I’m told by (VP Chiwenga) that he has done the calculation, that it ends tomorrow Sunday at 3:04pm. So I am going to be installed, inaugurated before 3:04 tomorrow.”
In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said everything would be done in accordance with the Constitution.
“The preparations for the swearing in are on course. Following Friday’s judgement it means that inauguration has to happen and this will take place tomorrow (today). People are being invited and I understand there will be buses provided in all provinces to enable people to witness the historic event.
“On our part as the Justice Ministry, I should say we are done with all the necessary paperwork for the swearing in and we just wait for the moment.”