Zimbabwe has a new leader for the first time in over 37 years.
Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn into office on November 24, 2017, becoming only the second president in the county’s history since it gained independence in 1980. Former president, Robert Mugabe, resigned shortly after the military rolled into the nation’s capital. So, what led to this massive shift in power and what does the country’s future have in store?
Former President Mugabe joined the African nationalist movement in Zimbabwe, when it was formerly Rhodesia, and formed his own political party called ZANU-PF. After spending 11 years behind bars, Mugabe went on to win national elections and become the country’s first leader, following its independence from Britain.
While he maintained popularity after the election, he started to change the constitution in order to give himself more power. Mnangagwa served as Mugabe’s vice president, but was dismissed on November 6, 2017, marking a shift in popular opinion in Zimbabwe. The move angered citizens, as well as his own party and led to military intervention — which forced to president to resign.
While the move appears to be a victory for democracy, the leader who has replaced Mugabe technically served by his side for years. Mnangagwa is also known for his ruthless leadership, and many are anxious that he won’t give a fair platform for candidates looking to run against him in upcoming elections. Time will tell if this new leadership will be fair and democratic.