Emmerson Mnangagwa Sworn In As Zimbabwe's New President After Mugabe's Resignation

Emmerson Mnangagwa
Emmerson Mnangagwa (L) speaks to supporters flanked by his wife Auxilia at Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party headquarters in Harare on November 22. He was sworn in as Zimbabwe's new President days after Robert Mugabe announced his resignation, after being in power for 37 years. MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images

Emmerson Mnangagwa has been sworn in as the new President of Zimbabwe.

The inauguration on Friday, November 24, comes days after long-standing leader Robert Mugabe, in power since 1980, announced his resignation following mounting pressure from the military and the ruling party, Zanu PF.

Mnangagwa, a 75-year-old former security chief known as 'The Crocodile', vowed to uphold the country's constitution and protect people's rights, Reuters reported.

Mugabe's resignation came as tensions mounted in the country after he fired Mnangagwa as vice-president earlier in November.

Mnangagwa's dismissal sparked political turmoil, prompting the army to temporarily take over the government to "target criminals" around Mugabe. The military, which insisted it did not carry out a coup, engaged in talks with the 93-year-old president in order to give him a "dignified exit".

Although Mugabe's resignation was widely welcomed, both in Zimbabwe and abroad, some are concerned about the future of the country under Mnangagwa.

As tensions mounted in the country, Labour MP Kate Hoey asked UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson whether he would support the elevation to the presidency of Mnangagwa, who she said is "probably the one person in Zimbabwe who inspires even greater terror" than Mugabe.

Mnangagwa, a close ally of Mugabe for 40 years, is still under U.S. sanctions for his alleged role during a violent crackdown on opponents in the 2008 presidential elections.

He is also accused of being involved in the 1980s Gukurahundi massacres, when between 10,000 and 20,000 people were said to have been killed by Mugabe's Fifth Brigade soldiers. Mnangagwa has always denied any involvement.

"Mnangagwa is a man with a dark history, but as Zimbabwe's new president, he will enjoy absolute immunity from prosecution," security analyst David Otto told Newsweek.

"The most glaring accusations of crimes dated prior 2002, the cut-off period for International Criminal Court investigations under the Rome Statute, which Zimbabwe has not ratified."

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Mugabe has often been criticized for clinging on to power and his government's poor record of human rights. He was reportedly granted immunity after he said he wanted to die in Zimbabwe.

"It was very emotional for him and he was forceful about it," a source, who is not authorized to speak on the details of the negotiated settlement, told Reuters.

"For him it was very important that he be guaranteed security to stay in the country... although that will not stop him from travelling abroad when he wants to or has to," the source added.

The source further explained that Mugabe will receive a retirement package including a pension, housing, holiday and transport allowance, health insurance, limited air travel and security.

"The general concern is whether Mnangagwa will keep any immunity placed on Mugabe and his family," explains Otto.

"In balancing the treatment he received from the Mugabe family and attempts to eliminate him even after he was sacked, he would be very bitter.

"However, if Mugabe were to be dragged to any domestic or international court, Mnangagwa could be implicated because of the strategic positions he held throughout the years Mugabe was in power. He would want to save himself by keeping Mugabe safe from any prosecution," Otto concluded.