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EARLY START

Mnangagwa Sworn In As Interim Zimbabwean President. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired November 24, 2017 - 04:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Highfields, one of Harare's oldest townships.

[04:30:04] Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo, the founding fathers of the ruling ZANU-PF, have lived here. Now it's a stronghold for Morgan Tsvangirai's opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change. And life here is about survival.

The jobs are in informal. Mechanics, market women, barbers, and a great deal of unemployed hustling.

(on camera): It is now a traditionally opposition area High Fields. This is where Robert Mugabe's people did operation, which means clear out the filth, and they raze people's houses on the pretense of the planning permission, but the aim really was to smash the newly formed Movement with Democratic Change, the opposition's support base which is all over here.

(voice-over): Maxwell is one of those who had his home destroyed in 2005. The father of three used to be a bank manager. Now he, like so many others, has no job.

MAXWELL TANDARE, HIGHFIELDS RESIDENT: Children have suffered all these years. I was working at the bank for 19 years as the manager. Nothing to do, I'm loitering around.

SEVENZO: He's desperate for a chance to vote for change, freely and fairly.

TANDARE: We must give both of them, Mnangagwa and Tsvangirai, they must come together, work together, bring the reforms to the election. The election is unfair.

SEVENZO: Unfair because people are so euphoric that right now incoming President Emmerson Mnangagwa has the edge. The boys at the barber shop are optimistic. In fact, Nasha, George, Mayesa and Archibald can't even believe they're allowed to speak to us.

(on camera): You say -- you say in Mugabe era, if they be seen like this, they would have been beaten up for talking to us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's only that people wanted change. It's their view that things will change because they wanted change. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Zimbabwe seems to be that it's different.

SEVENZO: Everything is back to normal?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

SEVENZO (voice-over): These school girls tell us they believe their future is suddenly brighter with Robert Mugabe's departure.

Still, it's in areas like these, poor, ignored, proud, where the real taste of change will be measured.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's OK. In the meantime --

SEVENZO: Farai Sevenzo, CNN, Highfields, Harare.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: The climax of this whole thing about to take place in Harare, will Mnangagwa be sworn in as president. This is the process of inauguration. We'll take you live there as that process happens and also for the speech he's expected to make which many people are keen to hear what's his plan for the future of Zimbabwe.

Now, it's been a deadly holiday for U.S. law enforcement. In Texas, a suspect has been arrested after the fatal shooting of a state trooper. Authorities say 41-year-old Damon Allen was killed after he pulled a driver over south of Dallas on Thursday. They say Allen was returning to his patrol vehicle when the suspect fired several shots with a rifle.

And in Michigan, the sheriff's office says one of its deputies was killed when a driver fleeing from police deliberately drove into him. Officer had just deployed tire spikes and was hit when the driver swerved. A 22-year-old man was arrested at the scene.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Still to come, the crackdown on dissent in China. Is it increasingly targeting lawyers and activists? We bring you some of their stories, next.

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[04:37:09] FOSTER: A truly momentous day in Zimbabwe. Emmerson Mnangagwa is being sworn in as interim president. You're looking at live pictures in the capital Harare.

David McKenzie is there for us as well.

Take us through the process, David.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you hear the cheers. Let's listen in for a second, Max.

There you have Emmerson Mnangagwa walking along the stage. He's set to go to the chief justice of Zimbabwe. They will swear him in as the interim president of this country after 37 years under Robert Mugabe. The stadium is packed behind me.

You really get an electric sense of the atmosphere here. Many have been speaking but this is a day they would never miss. They've been coming in buses, moving in on foot and they're coming into this stadium here, the national stadium here in Zimbabwe and coming to witness history as you await -- as we await Emmerson Mnangagwa. Let's take a look.

(INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Section 96, subsection 1 of the constitution. The former president of the republic of Zimbabwe by written notice has notified the speaker of parliament of his resignation from office of the president. And whereas in terms of paragraph 14 sub paragraph 4B of the sixth schedule of the constitution, a vacancy in the office of the president must be filled by a nominee of the political party, which is a former president representative.

And whereas in terms of paragraph 14 sub paragraph 5 of the sixth schedule, the ruling party ZANU-PF has nominated Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

[04:40:29] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As the candidate -- as the party's candidate to assume the office of the president. And, whereas, in terms of section 94 of the constitution, the president must take before the chief justice the oath of president in the form set out in the third schedule.

Now, therefore, I, Luke Malaba, chief justice of the republic of Zimbabwe do hereby call upon you, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, to take the oath of president.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

EMMERSON MNANGAGWA, ZIMBABWE PRESIDENT: I, Emmerson Mnangagwa, swear that as president of republic of Zimbabwe, I will be faithful to Zimbabwe and obey, uphold and defend the constitution and all of the laws of Zimbabwe, and I will promote whatever will advance and oppose whatever may harm Zimbabwe. That I will protect and promote the rights of the people of Zimbabwe.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

That I will discharge my duties with all my strength to the best of my knowledge and ability and the true predictions of my conscious and I will devote myself to the well-being of Zimbabwe and its people. So help me god.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MCKENZIE: So, Max, there, you saw that historic moment here in the national stadium in Zimbabwe, shaking the hand of the chief justice, the crowd cheering in wild celebration as Emmerson Mnangagwa will be sworn in as only the second leader Zimbabwe has ever known. He read through that solemn oath of office with the chief justice. He signed that oath and throughout Zimbabwe and throughout the millions of Zimbabweans across the world, you know, they are watching this moment of history.

So many people, a couple of weeks ago, would never have imagined that you'd have this apparent coup in this country, pushing out Robert Mugabe, the 93-year-old leader, that ended in a peaceful transition that ended moments ago here in Harare.

[04:45:08] It will be a day of celebration and then perhaps a day of reckoning for the new interim president. He was the right-hand man of Robert Mugabe, but he has promised to unite Zimbabweans and to bring back the economy and to bring jobs -- jobs, jobs as he put it to this country.

What an incredible moment tinged with some trepidation but certainly, Max, everyone here in the stadium is elated to see a new ruler be sworn in here in Zimbabwe.

FOSTER: It's really extraordinary moment, isn't it? Listening to the sound coming from that stadium as each moment of this process plays out in front of that huge audience and the world, of course. We're watching it here. All of our viewers are watching it on CNN all around the world.

What might confuse some people though is how this is so defining when this was Mugabe's right-hand man for so many decades. I mean, is there really a huge difference here in policy?

MCKENZIE: Well, that's a great question. We cannot over estimate how Zimbabweans how they felt when Robert Mugabe voluntarily resigned because you saw those crowds. We were right inside with that celebration when Mugabe stepped down. That was genuine emotion.

This country is still riding on that emotion. Though this man is tainted by the politics of Robert Mugabe, to many people here they just want a clean break. They say 37 years under Mugabe couldn't get any worse so they're hoping that perhaps now there will be something better for them and their families in Zimbabwe -- Max.

FOSTER: He's going to have to differentiate himself, isn't he, on that basis from Mugabe and the previous regime. So a huge amount of pressure now on the speech we're expecting to make in the next half an hour or so.

MCKENZIE: That's right. Everyone looking within Zimbabwe and all the international community will be looking at the speech because they want to hear a message of inclusiveness and a new direction from Emmerson Mnangagwa. As you say, he is the right-hand man or was the right-hand man of Mugabe.

People will be watching this speech because if he talks about a new direction, if he welcomes all the Zimbabweans to join -- to lead this country out of the mess that it's in, they might pause and say perhaps it's worth giving this man a moment, giving him a chance despite his checkered history to lead this country in that new direction. Also, the international community might be hoping he'll say something

about elections. That might be optimistic, but he's required by the constitution to call for elections before August next year. If there is a free and fair elections, then perhaps the blockade on certain individuals including this man who was just sworn in as president might be lifted. He's under U.S. sanctions and I spoke to the ambassador here who said, well, Mnangagwa will hold free elects, if he's someone who opens up and has discussions with the opposition, then perhaps they will partner with him.

I can tell you there will be a lot of goodwill and a lot of money coming in if he can prove to the world and to Zimbabweans that he won't be another Mugabe by another name -- Max.

FOSTER: Yes, what sort of conditions the opposition is attaching to all this? They're allowing, you know, an unelected leader to take control of the country over the next few months. Presumably they need that guarantee of free and fair elections, or they're not going to continue supporting this man that we're seeing step into the top job right now.

MCKENZIE: Yes. It might be too strong to say they're actively supporting him. They're giving him a chance. They're kind of giving him space to be sworn in and see how he will act. That's a big question.

The opposition has very little power at this moment because the ruling party, they have purged through this crew. We shouldn't forget that, not just Mugabe but all his allies (INAUDIBLE) they have a view of the generals who helped push through this coup. They will have to give some we shouldn't forget that mp not just -- they have a view of the generals who helped push through this coup.

[04:50:05] They will have to give some space to revitalize at this moment. And the opposition pushed aside as we expect that speech might be coming soon.

And, Max, because of that, it's really about Mnangagwa and the ruling party and what they do, less about the opposition at this moment.

FOSTER: So, Mnangagwa, the new president, the interim president at least of Zimbabwe. He's just been sworn in. About to make a speech which will have the world's attention justifiably because he's marking an end to decades of rule, authoritarian rule effectively by President Robert Mugabe, his predecessor.

He's looking forward to a future, and that's going to have to be a fair and free future, David, am I right, if neighboring countries are going to allow this process to play out as much as the opposition.

MCKENZIE: That's right. They will. They'll give some space.

And you hear the cheering because Emmerson Mnangagwa, the new interim president is getting the handshake and salute from the military leaders. I cannot state how critical the military was in this. This was a coup. This was a coup that was followed by a veneer of a

constitutional handover. And after the military came in and said they would push through and purge the criminal elements as they call it, Max, of the ruling party. They then kind of kick off these series of events that could have been a very nasty impeachment of Robert Mugabe but it ended up being a resignation.

We also know that the military negotiated immunity for Robert Mugabe, this man that presided over such a collapse of this economy and is accused of so many human rights abuses. There will be people who will question that decision, who wanted to see Robert Mugabe and his coterie prosecuted.

But, of course, one key member of that was Emmerson Mnangagwa. So, by getting that immunity, they ensure that Mugabe leave the scene willingly and they can install their new man as president. But this is as much a party -- as much a family feud within the party as it is an apparent coup.

FOSTER: Yes. So, very symbolic moment there watching the military go up and effectively relinquish control to Mnangagwa. They engineered this whole process, didn't they? Their priority seemed to be not allowing Robert Mugabe's wife to take the position that Mnangagwa destined for.

MCKENZIE: That's right, absolutely right. This is all about pushing the aspirations of Grace Mugabe aside. The man who will be speaking is the man who really was orchestrating this military coup from the headquarters of the military here in Zimbabwe.

And what we heard from Mnangagwa, interestingly, was that he was in constant contact with the military leaders, with the generals during this process. We know from opposition sources that for a long time, even several years, there were discussions going on about this eventuality, this possibility that they would have to push Mugabe aside if he was unwilling to go.

Ultimately, it was grace Mugabe, the first lady, you see him to reach too high to have aspirations for the presidency. And by they say orchestrating this firing of the vice president, an extraordinary surge of events, that is what brought us to this moment, in this stadium, in the capital of Mnangagwa being sworn in as only the second leader that this nation has ever known.

FOSTER: So, we're expecting the speech any moment now. We'll bring that to the viewers as we receive it.

The other big test people will be looking for from Mnangagwa and the speech coming up is, you know, a commitment really to dismantle the Mugabe power structure, right, within the government.

MCKENZIE: Well, that's right. There seems like he signs on the dotted line again from the cheers of the crowd. It seems like it's signed and sealed and we'll be hearing from the interim president soon. Look, we don't know how Mnangagwa is going to deal with the military

in the next few weeks and months, and we do know that there will be immense pressure for him to make a clean break with Mugabe. But I think he'll first consolidate his power within the ruling ZANU PF, Max, before he makes any kind of moves obviously towards opposition -- Max.

[04:55:11] FOSTER: Quick question on the government he may form. Do you expect ZANU PF to continue governing on their own, or do you think Mnangagwa might bring in the opposition to form some sort of coalition to really show his commitment to reform?

MCKENZIE: I don't think you'll see a coalition in the short term. Now, I might be proven wrong on that, but what you might see is that he does some perhaps symbolic positions about the cabinet to bring in an opposition member or a popular minister or two that might have been sacked by the Mugabe regime. So, we don't know just yet. This is all unchartered territory in Zimbabwe.

And, you know, it's interesting to see rulers from around the continent, Max, coming here to witness this moment. The Africans and the regional block, they are compelled to move in and intervene if there is a coup. But it seems like everyone has been so quietly letting this unfold waiting to see whether they can move through this moment -- Max.

FOSTER: David, thank you. David in the heart of a real moment in modern African history as Mnangagwa takes over from decades of authoritarian rule by Robert Mugabe, he used to work with very closely. Now he has to prove his reform. We're going to test that in the speech coming up to him. We'll bring that to you live.

I'm Max Foster in London. Thanks for joining us this hour.

For our viewers in the U.S., "EARLY START" is coming up for you. The rest of you, we'll have more from Harare and the inauguration and address of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

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