Zimbabwe's President in waiting Emmerson Mnangagwa, greets supporters gathered outside the Zanu-PF party headquarters in Harare, Zimbabwe Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Zimbabwe's President in waiting Emmerson Mnangagwa, greets supporters gathered outside the Zanu-PF party headquarters in Harare, Zimbabwe Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Harare - They waited under the scorching for hours, waiting for their hero Emmerson Mnangwaga to arrive.

Although some had complained of hunger, they stayed on and were patient. They had left their homes early this morning and the only thing they had managed to eat were snacks that they bought from vendors.

Earlier in the day, it had rained before it became very hot but scores of people still waited to see Mnanagangwa.

To while away the time, they danced to music blaring from speakers nearby. When it became apparent that Mnangagwa was closer, they started cheering loudly.

Video: Botho Molosankwe/IOL

As soon as Mnangagwa stepped out his vehicle, crowds nearly caused a stampede as they pushed each other forward to catch a glimpse of the man who will now be their leader.


They pushed and shoved with everyone wanting to be at the front.


Security guards had a tough time controlling and pushing back the crowds that were pushing forwards. At some point some people nearly came to blows due to emotions that were running high.


At one point a soldier went around with a sjambok, threatening to whip everyone who did not listen to him and pushed forward.

No matter how much he whipped the floor next to people's feet to scare them, the crowds always went back to the very same spot he had just removed them from.

As that scene unfolded, others who were not part of the feuding group from waved their Zimbabwean flags even higher, admiration palpable on their faces as they saw Mnangagwa.


They cheered loudly as they saw him on the stage that had just been hastily prepared.
Video: Botho Molosankwe/IOL
Zanu-PF member Obed Mpofu, who introduced Mnangagwa, was also well received by the crowds. 

When Mnangagwa finally spoke, the crowds cheered even louder. 

He began by telling the crowd about why he went on exile to South Africa.

"In August, I was subjected to poisoning which resulted in me being airlifted to South Africa. This time around I said I will not wait for them to eliminate me and decided to go to South Africa,"  he said.

Mnangagwa said he was humbled by the support Zimbabweans have shown him.

"Today we are witnessing a new and unfolding democracy.  President Jacob Zuma and [former Tanzanian] President [Jakaya] Kikwete have also sent their messages commending you for the disciplined and peaceful way you have handled yourselves. They say the way we have handled this process makes them proud as Africans," he said.

Mnangagwa, set to be sworn in on Friday morning at 10am, called on Zimbabweans to begin working towards a new beginning for the country. 

"I call upon all genuine patriotic Zimbabweans to come together, work together. No one is more important than than the other. We are all Zimbabweans," he said.

"We want to grow our economy, we want peace in our country, we want jobs, jobs, jobs."

The presidential nominee nicknamed "crocodile" also recognised Parliament Speaker Jacob Mudenda for sticking to the constitution.

"I wish to commend the manner in which the speaker handled the process under intense pressure from those that wanted to derail it," he said.

Mnangagwa said Wednesday night, was just to greet and thank Zimbabweans.  He promised to give a proper speech at his Friday inauguration.

Additional reporting by ANA