The People Have Spoken

Thirty years after Robert Gabriel Mugabe was declared President of Zimbabwe, the National Sports Stadium in Harare was packed to capacity for the inauguration of his successor Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa.

Many of the spectators had only ever known one President and it was an emotional occasion as people flocked from all over the country to be present for the historic changeover.

Several days earlier, as Mnangagwa returned from exile after the military takeover that had ousted Mugabe, he proclaimed, “The people have spoken. The voice of the people is the voice of God.” His words were emblazoned on signs across the stadium and the promises he made in his inauguration speech gave people a reason to hope that the political and economic situation in the country might change for the better. Yet amongst the crowd, the heavy military presence could not be ignored serving as a reminder of Mnangagwa’s unorthodox ascension to power.

A woman protects herself from the sun as the National Stadium in Harare begins to fill for the inauguration ceremony of the new President.
A spectator joins in the celebrations as dancing women from the Zionist Christian Church (ZCC) entertain the crowd.
Members of the Apostolic Church in Zimbabwe attend the inauguration. A month previously, an apostolic prophet, Madzibaba Wimbo, announced the Mnangagwa would need much prayer and assistance in order to succeed Mugabe.
An unwilling young guest poses for a photograph during the inauguration ceremony.
Supporters hold up pictures of General Constantino Chiwega, the leader of Zimbabwe's defence forces and man behind the 'coup' that led to the resignation of former President Mugabe.
General Constantino Chiwenga waits for the proceedings to begin.
Zimbabwean star Jah Prayzah performs to a packed crowd during the inauguration. The singer has become a 'hero of the revolution' after some of his songs were interpreted as having prophetic lyrics relating to end of Mugabe's rule and the coming of Mnangagwa.
Zimbabwe's wigged and robed Supreme Court judges wait for other dignitaries to arrive. Chief Justice Luke Malaba administered the oath of office.
Emmerson Mnangagwa raises the bible to take the oath of office as new President of Zimbabwe.
Members of the Guard of Honour march out of the stadium after they were inspected by the new President.
A soldier keeps an eye on the crowd during the speeches. Thousands came from all over the country to witness the end to the military takeover that oversaw the resignation of former President Robert Mugabe.
“The people have spoken. The voice of the people is the voice of God,” Mnangagwa told thousands of supporters gathered outside the ruling ZANU-PF party’s offices in Harare when he returned to Zimbabwe following the military takeover.
A packed crowd fills the stadium eager to witness the first inauguration in over 30 years.