The Sunday Mail
Farirai Machivenyika in TSHWANE, South Africa
In a show of popularity and heart warming camaraderie, President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday received the most thunderous welcome from thousands of South Africans gathered at Loftus Versfeld Stadium for the inauguration of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Mnangagwa was part of the 20 Heads of State and Government that attended yesterday’s ceremony, which was also graced by former presidents of South Africa, diplomats and leaders of various international organisations.
President Mnangagwa was given a rapturous applause soon after arrival while making his way to the VVIP platform where other important dignitaries were seated.
Coincidently, the rapturous welcome of the President comes on a day the continent was celebrating Africa Day, which marks the birth of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on May 23 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia , whose main thrust was to promote unity among member states, and galvanise efforts in dislodging colonialism in all its guises and facets.
President Mnangagwa highlighted the importance of Africa Day on his Twitter handle, where he urged Africans to celebrate the values of brotherhood, sisterhood and unity.
“Each and every nation struggled for their freedom and sovereignty. Now we must work together to build a brighter future of progress and prosperity for all.”
President Ramaphosa became the 6th President of South Africa following the end of apartheid in 1994.
His African National Congress party won the elections, held on May 8, with a 57,5 percent majority.
The main opposition party, Democratic Alliance, came a distant second with 20,8 percent followed by the Economic Freedom Fighters with a 10,8 percentage vote.
The ANC managed to retain all the eight provinces it held before the elections, while the Democratic Alliance retained governing position in the Western Cape.
President Ramaphosa took his oath of office before South Africa’s Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.
In his inauguration speech, President Ramaphosa said he would be guided by the country’s values in discharging his duties.
“Our Constitution — the basic law of our land — continues to guide our way even at the darkest hour,” he said.
“As a nation, we therefore can no longer abide by the grave disparities of wealth and opportunity that have defined our past and which threaten to imperil our future.
“It is our shared will — and our shared responsibility — to build a society that knows neither privilege nor disadvantage.
“It is a society where those who have much are willing to share with those who have little.
“It is a society where every person, regardless of race or sex or circumstance, may experience the fundamental necessities of a decent, dignified life.”
President Ramaphosa also thanked African leaders who attended yesterday’s ceremony and pledged to work with other African nations for the continent’s development.
“We are profoundly grateful to you for choosing to celebrate Africa Day among us, giving further poignancy to South Africa’s transformation from a pariah state to a full and valued member of the family of African nations,” he said.
“We also recognise, with appreciation, those countries from other continents who have joined us today.
“We remain eternally grateful to all nations represented here for the sacrifices and tireless contributions by your people and governments to the liberation of our land.
“Today, we reaffirm our determination to work with our sisters and brothers across the continent to realise the African Union’s vision of Agenda 2063.”
President Mnangagwa, who is also Sadc Vice Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security has harmoniously worked with other African countries to enhance political, economic and social cooperation.
The President is one of the African Heads of States who signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which seeks to create a single market for goods, services and movement of persons in order to deepen the economic integration on the African continent.
Africa Day is commemorated annually on 25 May to mark the foundation of the Organisation of Africa Union (OAU) which was later renamed African Union.
The OAU was formed on 25 May 1963 and Zimbabwe officially became a member of the continental body soon after attaining its Independence in 1980.