Friday, 19 January 2018

Robert Mugabe will continue to have a role to play in Zimbabwean politics, the Jesuit priest who helped negotiate his resignation has told the BBC.

Father Fidelis Mukonori said he would provide "advice" as an elder statesman, including to the new president.

Mr Mugabe, 93, resigned on Tuesday after a military intervention and days of mass protests.

Mr Mukonori said he could not confirm reports that the ex-leader was granted $10m (£7.5m) to ease him out of office.

Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in to replace Mr Mugabe as president on Friday.

Mr Mnangagwa, long a close ally of Mr Mugabe, was sacked earlier this month, triggering the political crisis that eventually saw his boss's downfall.

Father Mukonori, 70, who is close to Robert Mugabe and acted as a mediator between him and the military, said the new president would go to his predecessor for political counsel.

"In the African world, senior citizens are there for advice," he told the BBC's Richard Galpin at a church outside the capital, Harare, after leading a service that included prayers giving thanks for the peaceful transfer of power.

He referred to what Mr Mnangagwa said about his predecessor at his inauguration.

"When he says 'he's my father, he's my leader, he's my mentor', you tell me he's going to stay off from his father, from his mentor, from his leader? I don't think so."

The priest said that Mr Mugabe and his wife Grace remained at their house in Harare and had no plans to leave the country.

The military takeover came in response to Mr Mugabe's decision to position Grace as his successor and sack Mr Mnangagwa from the vice-presidency.

Father Mukonori said he could not confirm reports that the ex-president was granted millions of dollars and promised that his assets would not be touched to persuade him to step down.

"We didn't offer him anything... He resigned for the good of Zimbabwe," he said.

He added: "What I have read in the newspapers is about immunity [from prosecution], and that he will be looked after like any other former head of state."

Mr Mugabe leaving power, he added, was the best thing he had ever done.

 
President Mnangagwa called Robert Mugabe "a father, mentor, comrade-in-arms and my leader"

Separately on Sunday, Robert Mugabe was described as being "quite jovial" by a nephew in an interview with the French news agency AFP.

"He is actually looking forward to his new life - farming and staying at the rural home. He has taken it well," Leo Mugabe said.

He said that Grace wanted to focus on already announced plans to build the controversial $1bn Robert Mugabe University in Mazowe, near Harare.

There are fears that President Mnangagwa, who is associated with some of worst atrocities committed under the ruling Zanu-PF party since independence in 1980, will not usher in the democratic reforms that many in Zimbabwe are hoping for.

But Father Mukonori said he believed the former spymaster knows that democracy is "crucial".

Published in Business and Economy
Saturday, 25 November 2017 20:46

LIVERPOOL 1, CHELSEA 1

Chelsea substitute Willian scored a late goal to earn the Blues a draw with Liverpool at Anfield.

The forward, who scored twice in a 4-0 win at Qarabag in the Champions League in midweek, struck in the 85th minute as what appeared to be a cross looped over Simon Mignolet and into the far corner.

It denied Mohamed Salah a dream outcome against his former club after the Liverpool winger had opened the scoring just after the hour with a close-range finish.

That was Salah's 10th goal in just 13 Premier League games this season in what has been a superb start to the Egyptian's Liverpool career.

Salah could even have won it for Liverpool in final minute but his powerful drive was saved by Thibaut Courtois.

Chelsea are unbeaten in their past seven visits to Anfield, a run stretching back to 2013.

Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah has now scored 15 goals in all competitions this season

Salah, understandably, was the centre of attention in the build up to the match as he faced his former side for the first time since leaving Chelsea for Roma in the summer of 2016.

The 25-year-old made just 17 appearances and six league starts during his two-year spell at Stamford Bridge but has returned to England a much improved player.

Already the Premier League's top scorer, Salah has been at his most effective when alongside Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino in attack but against Chelsea he had Daniel Sturridge and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for company in Liverpool's front three.

The triumvirate may have been different but Salah still showed his class. He was Liverpool's most dangerous player in a first half light on chances, flashing an effort over the bar early on while a promising run along the edge of the box deserved more but there was no team-mate waiting in the box to meet his cut-back.

It felt, though, that Salah's name was destined to be written into the story of the game and so it proved. He showed great instinct to anticipate Oxlade-Chamberlain's poked pass and when presented with a clear sight of goal there was little doubt over the outcome.

Salah did not celebrate the strike, which saw him become Liverpool's highest scorer in a single season since Luis Suarez hit 31 goals in the 2013-14 campaign.

Chelsea had won two and drawn four in their past six Anfield visits, but despite that record Antonio Conte's team selection suggested this was a must-not-lose game rather than a must-win.

The Blues lined up with eight defensive-minded players - five defenders along with three holding midfielders as Tiemoue Bakayoko started alongside former Leicester duo Danny Drinkwater and N'Golo Kante in the middle.

That meant Eden Hazard carried all the creative responsibility, a task he grasped fully whenever the visitors had the chance to get forward. His darting runs and sudden changes of direction had the home side's defence on almost constant edge. It was from his through-ball that Mignolet had to race off his line to deny Drinkwater and it was from his pass that Davide Zappacosta forced the Liverpool keeper to tip over the bar.

However, he visibility tired in the second half, weakening Chelsea's attack, and when Salah scored it seemed a Liverpool win was inevitable.

Willian was unlucky not to have started after scoring twice and providing two assists in Chelsea's midweek win in Azerbaijan and it took just 144 seconds for him to make a telling impact in this game.

His three goals in two games is as many as in his previous 25 combined. The Brazilian has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge but his impressive recent form suggests he could still play a part for the Blues this season.

Man of the match - Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah
Once again Liverpool's best player. With his 10th league goal for Liverpool in his 13th game, no player has scored more in their first 13 Premier League appearances for the Reds (level with Daniel Sturridge).LIV
Published in Sports
Saturday, 25 November 2017 20:34

Messi extends Barcelona contract until 2021

Lionel Messi ended months of speculation when finally putting pen to paper on Saturday to extend his contract with Barcelona until 2021, the club announced, making official an agreement reached in July.

The Spanish giants had announced in the summer that Messi, 30, had committed his future to the club but the Argentine had not signed the new deal.

With his previous contract set to expire in 2018, Messi could have left Barca for free next summer had he not extended his deal.

“FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi signed on Saturday morning a new contract that will keep the Argentinian superstar at the club through the 2020/21 season,” read a club statement. “The buyout clause was set at 700 million euros ($835 million).”

The steep rise in the five-time World Player of the Year’s buyout clause from 300 million euros in his previous contract is designed to avoid any repeat of Paris Saint-Germain’s capture of Neymar from Barcelona by paying the Brazilian’s 222 million euro buyout clause in August.

Pressure has been mounting on beleaguered Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu to get Messi to put pen to paper.

Bartomeu was heavily criticised for his role in Neymar’s departure and a haphazard search for replacements in the final weeks of the transfer window.

However, Bartomeu saw off a vote of no confidence measure launched by disgruntled fans thanks to Barca’s fantastic start to the season, in large part inspired by Messi’s form.

And Bartomeu now has the image he craved of a smiling Messi tying the remainder of his peak years to the club.

Messi’s 30 trophies are along with teammate Andres Iniesta the most in Barca’s history, including eight La Liga and four Champions League titles.

The diminutive Argentine, who joined Barca at the age of 13, has also smashed 523 goals in 602 games to become the Catalans’ all-time top goalscorer.

News of Messi’s renewal also comes as a huge boost to the La Liga leaders ahead of Sunday’s top of the table clash at Valencia (1945GMT).

Barca lead a revitalised Valencia by four points, with both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid a further six points adrift, thanks to a club record start of 11 wins and one draw from 12 games.

Published in Sports

Ryan Giggs’ father Danny Wilson, 61, has accused the former footballer of ‘abandoning’ his brother Rhodri, 40, after having a secret eight-year affair with his sibling’s wife.

His affair with Rhodri’s ex-wife Natasha had emerged back in 2011, with the brunette bombshell then going on to star in Big Brother and revealing she enjoyed the ‘thrill’ of secretly having sex with Ryan.

Speaking out against the Manchester United star, Ryan’s father has claimed he has ‘no remorse’ over the fling and has ‘never said sorry’ to his brother for his wrongdoing.

Speaking to Daily Star, Danny revealed Rhodri was left devastated by the affair and still hasn’t moved on – six years after it was first uncovered.

He explained that Rhodri, now ‘penniless and homeless’, has moved away from Manchester to stay with family in Wales. Danny added that he can no longer bring himself to say son Ryan’s name, as he claimed: ‘If he would just apologise, Rhodri could move on.’

Ryan’s father claimed instead of apologising, the sports star instead told Rhodri his affair with Natasha was ‘only ever about sex’.

However, Danny’s comments come after it was reported Ryan had apologsied to Rhodri and phoned his brother ‘out of the blue’ in 2015, four years after news of his affair with Natasha came to light.

At the time, it was claimed the brothers were reconciling in an attempt to rebuild their relationship – with sources insisting Rhodri had put the betrayal behind him.

A source told The Sun: ‘Ryan rang Rhodri out of the blue a few weeks ago. Rhodri moved on a long time ago but was adamant Ryan had to make the first move as he was the one who had done wrong.’

The affair was first revealed in June 2011 when Rhodri’s wife Natasha admitted to secretly sleeping with the former star winger over an eight year period in an interview with a Sunday paper. She claimed she had aborted Ryan’s baby just weeks before she got married to Rhodri in Las Vegas.

Rhodri and Ryan

Rhodri

Natasha Giggs

Natasha Giggs

Ryan

Published in Arts & Culture

Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, says restructuring Nigeria is inevitable for all-inclusive advantages it will confer on federating units and enhancement of national unity.

Ekweremadu stated this at a two-day Retreat by Southern Senators Forum in Calabar on Friday, and dismissed the fear in certain quarters that restructuring would cause the break-up of the country.

He explained that restructuring was not the same as exclusive resource control as the renewed and aggressive search for oil around the Lake Chad, Sokoto and Benue River Basins in recent times appeared to suggest.

According to him, whereas federating units will have more control over their resources in a restructured Nigeria, there would always be an Equalisation Fund to ensure that every region thrives above a reasonable threshold.

“In fact, oil and gas is among the least strategic endowments of the nation today and in the years ahead. Oil is fast losing its import in the global economy.

“Many of the heavy buyers are not only finding alternatives to oil, but are also setting deadlines for the phasing out of oil-powered engines and automobiles.

“But, what else can cure our fixation on oil except a return to the original master plan – the quest for a return to the old covenant and original foundation laid by the country’s forefathers.

“This quest is to revive the original master plan, removing those ugly and excess weights introduced by successive military regimes.

“It is an admission that we cannot continue to do the same thing that has failed us for more than half a century and expect a different result.

“If you are driving to Abuja from Ibadan and you face Lagos, you can only end up in Badagry or the Atlantic,’’ he said.
The lawmaker pointed out that the subject of restructuring appeared to have had divided opinions.

He recalled that Nigeria’s independence was delayed till 1960 to give room for more dialogue and ensure that no part of the country was left behind.

He explained that it was wisdom of the founding fathers that ensured that the current map of Nigeria was retained.

Ekweremadu said that there was no other viable option than restructuring if Nigeria must reap the blessings and promises of self-rule.

According to him, it must be done in a way that every part of the country will have a true sense of belonging.

He urged Nigerians to embark on more responsible and patriotic public discourse and enlightenment to break down the meaning and processes of restructuring, saying that the fears inherent in restructuring needed to be addressed.

“I believe that the man from Zamfara is unlikely to stand against a return to true federalism if he is made to understand that such would allow the state to exploit the abundant gold and granite in the state.

“The woman from Kogi will not likely oppose restructuring if she understands how rich the state is in solid minerals such as coal, iron ore, ornamental stone, gemstone, limestone, feldspar, phosphate, mica, and granite.

“And, how restructuring the country will give the state constitutional access to those mineral deposits could transform Kogi to one of the richest states in the country.

“The man from the North-East will not likely oppose decentralised policing if he understands that his family and business will be better protected,’’ he said.

The deputy senate president said the Nigeria Police Force needed to be decentralised as a significant component of the envisaged restructuring exercise.

He said the rating of International Police Association and the Institute for Peace and Security of Nigeria Police as the worst police in the world called to mind the imperative of restructuring of the nation’s police.
He pointed out that the rating had been the worst on all the measured parameters because the police had not been effectively decentralised.

He said, “Nigeria is the only country in the world with a federal system of government but running a unitary system of policing.

“Again, it is not realistic to expect the North to easily give away the advantages the status quo confers on it.

“Since revenues, appointments, projects, and other various opportunities are shared mainly on the basis of states and local governments, we will not realistically expect the region to give up the numerous states and local governments it currently enjoys.

“We will not expect the region to give up all these to embrace regionalism or creation of more states to strike a structural balance.

“But, we stand better chances if we engage in good faith, responsible and respectful dialogue to make every section of the country to see the bigger picture.

“Such healthy dialogues will also show that a man cannot enjoy his perceived advantages when his neighbours are angry since a man who feels unjustly treated will never be interested in peace.’’

Ekweremadu said that restructuring could only be addressed by adopting a piecemeal approach rather than seeking to do everything or so much at a go.

According to him, as the people begin to reap the gains of gradual restructuring, they will drop their fears and crave for more.

He said that if some Nigerians insisted on addressing all the issues at once, it would create the grounds for the suspicion that there was a hidden agenda.

“Interestingly, quite a number of prominent voices in the North have also thrown their weights behind the restructuring of the country. I am sure that many will join in due course.

“We must leverage on the influence of those who are on the same page with us on the vexed matter.

“This is having at the back of our mind a restructuring outcome that guarantees our indivisibility and promotes national integration.

“A restructuring that will guarantee our unity and national integration must address the issue of power rotation among the constituent parts of the country.’’

He called for the devolution of powers to make the centre less attractive as well as a single-term presidency that would rotate among the geographical zones.

The legislator said that such may prove reassuring to ethnic groups and promote national unity and loyalty to the nation, while constituent parts would be reassured that power would come at a given interval.

He commended the forum for raising the standard of ongoing national debate on restructuring, adding that he was impressed by the aptness and auspiciousness of the theme of the retreat – National Unity and Restructuring.

He said: “As we sit back to listen to the erudite minds here gathered, and as we share ideas, let patriotism and dedication to a better and greater Nigeria, rule.

“Let us bear in mind that we cannot restructure without unity, and certainly that restructuring will better guarantee a united and prosperous Nigeria.

“So, we should never fear to restructure and we should not restructure in fear.’’

 
Published in Business and Economy

Ex-President Robert Mugabe is reportedly worth more than $1bn despite his country being one of the poorest in the world.

Mugabe’s wealth has come under the microscope following a military coup earlier in the week.

The 93-year-old dictator has accumulated significant wealth during his rule under which thousands of people have been killed over the past 37 years.

Local media reports suggest a small part of his fortune was reaped from Zimbabwe’s diamond deposits. Mugabe owns the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Co.

He has repeatedly been accused of stealing from the country’s coffers, while he also reportedly acquired 15 acres of land during land seizures in 2000.

According to a 2001 US diplomatic cable, later released by the whistle-blowing organisation WikiLeaks, Mugabe has about $1.75bn worth of assets, mostly invested outside Zimbabwe.

It said that while reliable information was difficult to find, there were rumours his assets “include everything from secret accounts in Switzerland, the Channel Islands and the Bahamas to castles in Scotland.”

Opposition politicians have claimed the Mugabes own 14 farms in the bankrupt country, which would be in contravention of the constitution, which limits land holdings.

The best known is the Omega Dairy farm, one of the largest dairy farms in southern Africa.

Although the family has claimed not to be wealthy, Mugabe has flaunted his wealth in the past. Just three years ago, he famously dined on elephant and lion meat at his lavish 90th birthday celebrations.

Mugabe’s home in Harare is said to be extraordinarily opulent but it’s not the only mansion in his property portfolio. The president purchased a $5.2m mansion in Hong Kong in 2013 and also owns Hamilton Palace in Sussex, UK, which was estimated to be worth about $40m before it became a construction site.

He is also said to own a custom-built Mercedes Benz s600L that is able to withstand AK-47 bullets, landmines and grenades. It also features a CD and DVD player, internet access and anti-bugging devices.

The Citizen reported that Mugabe — who is a trained teacher — also owns a Rolls-Royce Phantom IV: a colonial-era British luxury car so exclusive, only 18 were ever manufactured.

The vintage black car is estimated to be worth more than Zimbabwe’s entire GDP.
(News.com)

Published in Headliners

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar said on Friday that he resigned from the All Progressives Congress because the party had failed Nigerian youths.

Atiku announced on his website that the ruling APC was a dying party that never took youths into account.

He said the future belonged to young people and that he joined the APC to facilitate a bright future for the young and old.

“The party we put in place has failed and continues to fail our people, especially our young people; how can we have a federal cabinet without even one single youth.

“A party that does not take the youth into account is a dying party. The future belongs to young people.

“I admit that I and others, who accepted the invitation to join the APC, were eager to make positive changes for our country that we fell for a mirage.

“Can you blame us for wanting to put a speedy end to the sufferings of the masses of our people?’’

Atiku also hinged his resignation on fractionalisation of the APC, resulting from “arbitrariness and unconstitutionality’’ over the years.

He said it was for the same reason that he defected from the Peoples Democratic Party in 2014.

“While other parties have purged themselves of the arbitrariness and unconstitutionality that led to fractionalisation, the APC has adopted the same practices.

“It has even gone beyond them to institute a regime of a draconian clampdown on all forms of democracy within the party and the government it produced,’’ he added.

Atiku said that after due consultations, he had resigned from the APC to take time to ponder his future. (NAN)

Published in Politics
Friday, 24 November 2017 17:15

Atiku leaves APC

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has defected from the All Progressives Congress.

Atiku, in a statement he personally signed on Friday, recalled how he joined the ruling party in 2013.

Below is the statement:

“On the 19th of December, 2013, I received members of the All Progressives Congress at my house in Abuja. They had come to appeal to me to join their party after my party, the Peoples Democratic Party, had become factionalized as a result of the special convention of August 31, 2013.

“The fractionalization of the Peoples Democratic Party on August 31, 2013 had left me in a situation where I was, with several other loyal party members, in limbo, not knowing which of the parallel executives of the party was the legitimate leadership.

“It was under this cloud that members of the APC made the appeal to me to join their party, with the promise that the injustices and failure to abide by its own constitution which had dogged the then PDP, would not be replicated in the APC and with the assurance that the vision other founding fathers and I had for the PDP could be actualized through the All Progressives Congress.

“It was on the basis of this invitation and the assurances made to me that I, being party-less at that time, due to the fractionalization of my party, accepted on February 2, 2014, the hand of fellowship given to me by the All Progressives Congress.

“On that day, I said ‘it is the struggle for democracy and constitutionalism and service to my country and my people that are driving my choice and my decision” to accept the invitation to join the All Progressives Congress.

“Like you, I said that because I believed that we had finally seen the beginnings of the rebirth of the new Nigeria of our dreams which would work for all of us, old and young.

“However, events of the intervening years have shown that like any other human and like many other Nigerians, I was fallible.

“While other parties have purged themselves of the arbitrariness and unconstitutionality that led to fractionalization, the All Progressives Congress has adopted those same practices and even gone beyond them to institute a regime of a draconian clampdown on all forms of democracy within the party and the government it produced.

“Only last year, a governor produced by the party wrote a secret memorandum to the president which ended up being leaked. In that memo,  he admitted that the All Progressives Congress had ‘not only failed to manage expectations of a populace that expected overnight ‘change’ but has failed to deliver even mundane matters of governance’.

“Of the party itself, that same governor said ‘Mr. President, Sir Your relationship with the national leadership of the party, both the formal (NWC) and informal (Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso), and former Governors of ANPP, PDP (that joined us) and ACN, is perceived by most observers to be at best frosty. Many of them are aggrieved due to what they consider total absence of consultations with them on your part and those you have assigned such duties.’

“Since that memorandum was written up until today, nothing has been done to reverse the treatment meted out to those of us invited to join the All Progressives Congress on the strength of a promise that has proven to be false. If anything, those behaviours have actually worsened.

“But more importantly, the party we put in place has failed and continues to fail our people, especially our young people. How can we have a federal cabinet without even one single youth.

“A party that does not take the youth into account is a dying party. The future belongs to young people.

“I admit that I and others who accepted the invitation to join the APC were eager to make positive changes for our country that we fell for a mirage. Can you blame us for wanting to put a speedy end to the sufferings of the masses of our people?”

He stated, “After due consultation with my God, my family, my supporters and the Nigerian people whom I meet in all walks of life Atiku Abubakar, Waziri Adamawa” has resigned from the APC.

Published in Headliners

The funeral service of the late wife of a former Peoples Democratic Party Board of Trustees Chairman, Dame Patricia Anenih, has begun at St. Anthony Catholic Cathedral, Mission road, Uromi, Edo State.

The late Patricia died on April 16, 2017, in London at the age of 76.

She is survived by the husband, Chief Tony Anenih, several children, including the late Eugene who passed on in May, and grandchildren.

Among the dignitaries present at the service on Saturday were former President Goodluck Jonathan; Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State; and his Gombe State counterpart, Ibrahim Dankwambo.

Also at the funeral Mass were the immediate past Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole‎; a former Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan; and his predecessor, Chief James Ibori.

L-R Former Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole; Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; former President Goodluck Jonathan; wife of a former Peoples Democratic Party Board of Trustees Chairman, Justice Maryann; and Chief Tony Anenih at the funeral service of his late wife, Dame Patricia, in Uromi, Edo State…on Saturday.

Others include serving members of the National Assembly from Edo, former ministers, top government functionaries, and chieftains from the PDP and the All Progressives Congress.

Among the NASS members present were the ‎senator representing Edo Central where the ‎PDP national leader comes from, Mr. Clifford Ordia, and that of Edo South, Mr. Matthew Uroghide.

The event also attracted captains of industry, like the Chairman of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; Chief Gabriel Igbinedion; and Capt. Hosa Okunbor.

Published in News & Stories

Zimbabwe's new President Emmerson Mnangagwa has addressed a packed stadium, vowing to serve all citizens.

He said he felt "deeply humbled" to take the role.

And he said he was "not oblivious to the many Zimbabweans from across the political and racial divide who have helped make this day."

He paid tribute to his predecessor Robert Mugabe - to muted applause - calling him "a father, mentor, comrade-in-arms and my leader".

Mr Mugabe left office dramatically this week after 37 years of authoritarian rule. His departure followed a power struggle in which Mr Mnangagwa was sacked as vice president to pave the way for Grace Mugabe, the then-first lady, to take up the presidency.

Mr Mnangagwa fled the country but returned to a hero's welcome and on Friday struck a conciliatory tone.

"The task at hand is that of rebuilding our country," he said.

"I am required to serve our country as the president of all citizens regardless of colour, creed, religion, tribe, totem or political affiliation."

Although Mr Mnangagwa has unseated Zimbabwe's long-time ruler, he is still associated by many with some of the worst atrocities committed under the ruling Zanu-PF party since the country gained independence in 1980.

Emmerson Mnangagwa in numbers

He was the country's spymaster during the 1980s civil conflict, in which thousands of civilians were killed. But he has denied any role in the massacres, blaming the army.

How did the inauguration unfold?

Tens of thousands of people packed the National Sports Stadium in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, to witness the inauguration. Pop singer Jah Prayzer provided the entertainment and, as people in the crowd danced, the atmosphere was closer to that of a concert.

Dignitaries, including leaders from various African countries, filed in to cheers.

Opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Joice Mujuru - who both had their sights on the presidency at various times - were there.

Mr Mnangagwa was led in the oath of office by Chief Justice Luke Malaba, saying he would "be faithful to Zimbabwe", "protect and promote the rights and people of Zimbabwe" and discharge his duties to the best of his abilities.

Mr Mnangagwa was accompanied by his wife Auxilia and gave her a kiss after the green presidential sash was placed around his neck.

Was Mr Mugabe there?

No - and the official reason given was that at 93, the former president needed to rest.

But the fact he is not attending is a reminder that this is no ordinary transition, the BBC's Andrew Harding reports, and that despite Mr Mugabe's official resignation he was forced out by the military.

On Thursday, several reports suggested Mr Mugabe had been granted immunity from prosecution.

Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace. Photo: 8 November 2017Image copyrightREUTERS
President Mugabe was accused of preparing the presidency for his wife Grace

Local media are reporting that Mr Mnangagwa has offered the Mugabe family "maximum security and welfare".

The former president "expressed his good wishes and support for the incoming president," the Herald newspaper reports.

How did Zimbabwe get to this point?

The news on Tuesday that Mr Mugabe was stepping down sparked wild celebrations across the country.

It came in the form of a letter read out in parliament, abruptly halting impeachment proceedings against him.

He had been under pressure since the military took control of the country a week before, seizing the headquarters of the national broadcaster.

Although Mr Mugabe was largely under house arrest for several days, he appeared to be resisting pressure to stand down.

On Saturday, tens of thousands of Zimbabweans took to the streets of Harare to urge him to go. The demonstration was led by veterans of the country's war of independence, who last year turned against him.

On Sunday, Zanu-PF sacked Mr Mugabe as its leader. Two days later, he resigned as president.

In his letter, he said he was resigning to allow a smooth and peaceful transfer of power, and that his decision was voluntary.

Will the change be good for the economy?

Zimbabwe's economy is in a very bad state. It has not recovered fully from crises in the last decade, when rampant inflation grew so bad the country had to abandon its own currency. Now, according to some estimates, 90% of people there are unemployed.

Its main industrial index has slumped by 40% since last week's military intervention and the stock market has shed $6bn (£4.5bn) in a week.

Analysts say the market is now correcting itself, optimistic of a change of economic policy under Mr Mnangagwa.

However, the International Monetary Fund has warned that Zimbabwe must act quickly to dig its economy out of a hole and access international financial aid.

In his speech, Mr Mnangagwa said he would base a new economic policy on agriculture and foreign direct investment. He has pledged to create jobs.

What comes next?

On Thursday, Zimbabwe's main opposition MDC party called for deep-rooted political reform to dismantle the repressive apparatus that sustained Mr Mugabe's regime.

 
Leader of the opposition MDC party, Morgan Tsvangirai, warns of a "power retention agenda"

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said the "culture of violence" and "culture of corruption" had to be changed after "after so many years of Zanu-PF misrule".

It is unclear whether Zanu-PF will govern alone ahead of scheduled elections next year, or whether a coalition government of national unity that includes opposition groups will be formed.

Mr Mnangagwa confirmed in his speech that elections would be held as planned.

Published in Headliners
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