Zimbabwe's incoming president Emmerson Mnangagwa arrived at ZANU-PF headquarters on Wednesday as he made his first public appearance after he was back into the country. (Picture: Xinhua/Shaun Jusa)

Harare - Incoming president Emmerson Mnangagwa met with his predecessor, Robert Mugabe at the old man’s mansion north of Harare on Thursday. 

Government spokesperson, George Charamba released a brief statement saying that the new administration assured that the Mugabe family of their security. 

He also said that Mugabe may not attend the inauguration on Friday because he needed rest of the last “hectic” days.

Friday is not a public holiday in Zimbabwe and those attending the inauguration have been told not to wear party political regalia to the ceremony.

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai was invited late Thursday and is due to attend the celebrations at the National Sports Stadium on the west of the crumbling city.

Many say the first task ahead of Mnangagwa is to appoint a new, much smaller cabinet and look for a loan as Zimbabwe is bankrupt and there is almost no cash in the banks, or even change in some shops. The black market rate between real US Dollars and payment by swipe cards or phone cash is growing.

However, and despite Mnangagwa’s reputation for instigating or manipulating police violence over many years, there is a huge swell of warmth towards him, not least because he has meant the end of Robert Mugabe.

Judith Todd, a veteran activist against white rule, and who did so much to expose post independence political violence against the first opposition, Zapu, said ahead of the inauguration: "Another birthday for Zimbabwe today, 24 November!  Celebrations have already started and I’m so glad to be alive. I’m not available for discussions on the past.  It’s the future that beckons.”

Several rowing enthusiasts returned to the huge state-owned Mazowe Dam on Thursday night, and went back onto the water for the first time in six months, since former first lady, Grace Mugabe, had them chased off until they abandoned their sport. 

Many homeless people who built temporary homes on land nearby, which was seized by Mugabe from white farmers, were celebrating the departure of the former first family. “We were so tortured, now we can rest,” an old lady told local newspaper, Newsday.

Independent Foreign Service