Zimbabwe's president-designate Emmerson Mnangagwa File picture: AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

Harare - Thousands of people are expected to throng the National Sports Stadium in Harare for the inauguration of Emmerson Mnangagwa as Zimbabwean interim President.

The swearing-in ceremony of Mnangagwa on Friday, at the 60 000 seater stadium at 10 am will bring an to end to the 37-year-old rule of Robert Mugabe that has brought the country to its knees.

Sources close to the organisation of the history-making chapter of a country that has been under the control of Mugabe since attaining independence in 1980, said some regional leaders are expected in the Zimbabwe capital.

South African Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Siyabonga Cwele will represent President Jacob Zuma at the inauguration.


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Zuma's spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said Zuma will be hosting Angola President João Manuel Lourenço who is on a State Visit to South Africa, on the day of the inauguration.

"President Zuma has also extended his good wishes to former President Robert Mugabe and emphasised that his contribution to the liberation of the Southern African region and the decolonisation of the continent, in general, will always be acknowledged and celebrated," he said.

Mugabe was forced to resign on Tuesday after the army confined him to his house, his party sacked him as its leader and thousands took to the streets to demand his resignation in a tumultuous week.

Mnangagwa has released a statement appealing for peace and discipline to continue during this transitional period for the country.

"As the president-designate, I greet you all in the name of our country and our nation. As you are aware, in the last few months leading to this day, the political situation in our country has been quite fluid culminating in the resignation of the former head of state his excellency RG Mugabe. We are currently working on transitional arrangements which will lead to the dispensation that is to unfold tomorrow," said Mnangagwa.

"While this is going on, I implore all Zimbabweans to remain patient and peaceful and desist from any form of vengeful retribution. It is not in the spirit of ubuntu which characterises the nature of our people."

The appeal came on a day a video showing a fire gutting the farm of Mugabe's daughter Bona although the rest of the country remained peaceful. The incident is believed to be an act of arson by elements that want retribution against the former Zimbabwe leader.

This is despite Mugabe being granted immunity from prosecution and assured his family would be safe as part of the deal to resign.

Besides the immunity from prosecution, the 93-year-old has also been granted his wish to remain in the country for the remainder of his life.