Harare – Zimbabwe’s incoming leader remains under United States sanctions for his activities as Robert Mugabe’s deputy and enforcer.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, who will be sworn in on Friday, was sanctioned in response to what the U.S. called acts “to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes or institutions” and “acts of violence and other human rights abuses against political opponents.”
Mnangagwa was accused of leading a violent crackdown on opponents in the 2008 presidential election.
He has vowed a “new, unfolding democracy” in Zimbabwe after Mugabe’s resignation under military and ruling party pressure.
Zimbabwe’s military is reporting “no violation of constitutional processes” in an update on its operation launched last week that led the resignation of Robert Mugabe.
Its new statement also praises Zimbabweans for behaving well in their demonstrations calling for Mugabe’s departure and welcoming incoming leader Emmerson Mnangagwa, who will be sworn in Friday.
The statement says the military looks forward to “another massive gathering” for the inauguration “at a venue to be advised”. The ruling party has said it will take place at the 60 000-seat National Sports Stadium in the capital, Harare.
Zimbabwe’s opposition party MDC-T, which supported Robert Mugabe’s removal from office, says it is “cautiously optimistic” that incoming leader Emmerson Mnangagwa “will not mimic and replicate the evil, corrupt, decadent and incompetent Mugabe regime.”
Spokesperson Obert Gutu says that “the electoral playing field should have been completely evened up” when the country goes into elections next year.
Gutu says in a statement Thursday that the opposition party will closely watch Mnangagwa’s next moves, “particularly regarding the dismantling of all the oppressive pillars of repression and oppression that had been put in place by the outgoing Mugabe regime.”
Mnangagwa was a longtime Mugabe ally before being fired by him earlier this month. The incoming leader praised the ruling party Wednesday and vowed death to “enemies.” He will be sworn in Friday.
Activists and human rights groups are already expressing concerns as Zimbabwe’s incoming leader is set to be sworn in on Friday.
The pastor who led large anti-government protests last year, Evan Mawarire, says Zimbabweans should let Emmerson Mnangagwa know that the country should be for everyone and not just the ruling party.
Mnangagwa in his first speech in his new role on Wednesday spoke about “working together,” but he also recited slogans from the ruling ZANU-PF party.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch is urging Zimbabwe’s military to publicly identify everyone detained after it swept in last week and took then-President Robert Mugabe under house arrest. The military has said it was targeting so-called “criminals” close to the first lady accused of hurting the economy.