Zimbabwe’s next leader prepares to take power

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Zimbabwe's incoming president Emmerson Mnangagwa (L) gestures with a clenched fist to supporters flanked by his wife Auxilia at Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party headquarters in Harare on November 22, 2017. Zimbabwe's former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa flew home on November 22 to take power after the resignation of Robert Mugabe put an end to 37 years of authoritarian rule. Mnangagwa will be sworn in as president at an inauguration ceremony on November 24, officials said. / AFP PHOTO / TONY KARUMBA

Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa was preparing Thursday for his new role as president after a triumphant return home following the dramatic departure of Robert Mugabe, ending 37 years of authoritarian rule.

Mnangagwa, who has close ties to the army and the security establishment, returned to a hero’s welcome in Zimbabwe on Wednesday, telling crowds of supporters in Harare they were witnessing the start of a new democratic era.

The 75-year-old will be sworn in as president at an inauguration ceremony on Friday.

It was his first public speech since Mugabe fired him as vice president on November 6 over a succession tussle with the first lady, Grace Mugabe. That prompted the military’s intervention and eventually led to the president’s resignation on Tuesday.

He told hundreds of supporters that they were witnessing “a new and unfolding full democracy”.

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