A former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, has congratulated the newly sworn-in president of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mr. Obasanjo, in a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES on Friday, said he has no doubt that the new president will execute the responsibilities of office with the great political acumen that he is noted for.
“Your world-acclaimed experience in business and legal profession, I am convinced, will be an asset to be utilised effectively and efficiently to take Zimbabwe out of political and economic doldrums that have imposed a heavy toll on the Southern African nation of 16 million and thus bring about an accelerated development of Zimbabwe’s economy and global economy at large,” Mr Obasanjo wrote.
“At the moment, Zimbabwe needs the cooperation of the continent of Africa and cooperation of her friends outside the continent for the advancement of the economic fortunes of your great people and country.
“I am, therefore, of the strong conviction that the excellent relations between Nigeria and Zimbabwe will also benefit and blossom under your leadership.”
The South African President, Jacob Zuma, has also congratulated Mr. Mnangagwa.
Mr. Zuma said that he hoped Mr. Mnangagwa would steer his country successfully through the transition from Robert Mugabe’s rule.
Mr. Zuma’s comments were the first he has made in public since Mr. Mnangagwa emerged as the new leader of Zimbabwe following a military intervention against Mugabe.
He made them at talks with Angolan President Joao Lourenco in South Africa’s capital Pretoria.
Mr. Lourenco was paying a state visit to South Africa that had been previously scheduled. The two leaders did not attend Mr. Mnangagwa’s inauguration in Harare.
Also, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), an intergovernmental organisation, said on Friday that it was ready to work closely with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government.
SADC is a 16-country intergovernmental organisation which is currently chaired by Mr. Zuma.
Mr. Mnangagwa was sworn in as Zimbabwe president amidst cheers by thousands who gathered at the stadium on Friday.
The former president, Robert Mugabe, resigned on Tuesday, ending a 37-year rule that was characterised by political and economic chaos.
Mr. Mnangagwa, who was vice president, was earlier sacked by Mr. Mugabe early November for being “disloyal.”
Mr. Mugabe was removed from office following a dramatic chain of events that began on November 15 when military chiefs took control of state television to announce their intervention in the political crisis that had engulfed the ruling Zanu-PF.
Mr. Mugabe, 93, who has asked to be allowed to die peacefully in Zimbabwe, was absent at Friday’s inauguration.