- Mnangagwa Returning to Zimbabwe to Replace Mugabe as Leader
Former Zimbabwean Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is due to return to the southern African nation Wednesday to replace Robert Mugabe, whose resignation as president ended his 37-year rule.
Mnangagwa, 75, will be sworn in as interim leader, Simon Kaya Moyo, the spokesman for the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, said by phone. Mnangagwa fled the country, citing “incessant threats” against him and his family, following his dismissal by Mugabe as vice president on Nov. 6 after the president’s wife Grace Mugabe accused him of planning a coup.
“The swearing in should take place this afternoon,” Moyo said by phone. “We can’t have a country that is leaderless.”
Mugabe’s resignation came days after Zanu-PF fired him as its leader and ordered him to step down. The announcement that Mugabe was quitting sparked wild celebrations in the capital.
Mnangagwa inherits an economy in tatters. An estimated 95 percent of the workforce is unemployed, public infrastructure is crumbling and there are widespread shortages of cash and food. Many of the country’s woes are rooted in Mugabe’s support for the seizure of white-owned farms, which slashed agricultural production, export earnings and tax revenue.