Emmerson Mnangagwa is now the interim president of Zimbabwe. He was sworn in today at the National Stadium in Harare in front of Tens of thousands of people and dignitaries.

Zimbabweans at the National Sports Stadium for the swearing in of President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Mnangagwa, who was the former president of Zimbabwe, takes over from President Robert Mugabe, who ruled the country for 37 years.

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President Mugabe was ousted from power after the intervention of the military following his sacking of Mnangagwa as vice president. The former president had been positioning his wife, Grace Mugabe, to take over from him.

Mnangagwa was forced to leave the country during the Zimbabwe’s political crisis arising from the failure of President Mugabe stepping down.  He jetted back to the country, a day after the resignation of President Mugabe on Wednesday last week.

Zimbabwe Military officials at the National Stadium

Read: Cartoon: President Robert Mugabe threatens to fire his deputy Mnangagwa, as First Lady Grace Mugabe poised to replace embattled Vice President

In his speech as president, Mnangagwa promised to be faithful to Zimbabwe and to protect the rights and people of Zimbabwe. He added that he will discharge his duties to the best of his abilities.

I, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, swear that as president of the republic of Zimbabwe I will be faithful to Zimbabwe and obey, uphold and defend the constitution and all other laws of Zimbabwe.

With his wife Auxilia on his side, Mnangagwa paid tribute to former president Robert Mugabe.

“To me personally, he remains a father, mentor, comrade in arms and my leader,” he said.

After they were sworn in as the two new Zimbabwean Vice Presidents, Emmerson Mnangagwa (R) and Phelekeza Mphoko (L) stand with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (C) outside State House, Harare, Zimbabwe, 12 December 2014. Photo: ANP/ EPA Aaron Ufumeli

President Mugabe and Grace were not at the event. Reports state that Mugabe needed time off to rest.

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Mnangagwa promised that the elections will go on as planned, and called for the international community to reconsider sanctions against the country.

A patriot holding the Zimbabwe flag at Emmerson Mnangagwa’s inauguration

Mnangagwa will serve as an interim president until the country goes to the polls in 2018 to select a new leader. He is expected to contest for the position.