Emmerson "The Crocodile" Mnangagwa has been sworn in as the leader of Zimbabwe, and unity and cooperation with other African nations was a pivotal part of his agenda as he addressed the enthusiastic crowd at the national sports stadium in Harare on Friday.
The newly inaugurated president was clearly a favourite with the crowd, which periodically interrupted his speech to cheer him on. Mnangagwa's first speech as president presented a straky different approach to that of former president Robert Mugabe –– firm, but reassuring for Zimbabweans.
The country's economy was the key issue in his speech, as he reiterated that "the culture of the government must change".
"Let this make way for new beginnings." –– Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa
He called for those who had "punished [Zimbabweans] in the past" to lift the sanctions that were implemented against the country when Mugabe was in power.
"No nation needs to be an island. Solidarity and partnerships will lead the way... we need to take definite steps to re-engage with these nations," he said.
"Let this make way for new beginnings."
Mnangagwa also reassured Zimbabwe that the country was a committed member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African Union (AU), adding that the AU was the country's "natural home", and committing Zimbabwe to the AU's agenda.
The Zimbabwean president also emphasised the importance of building new relationships to help the country's ailing economy.
A "soft" coup, which led to Mugabe resigning, has resulted in Mnagagwa taking over the reins.
Mnangagwa recently fled the country, and only returned on Wednesday, after Mugabe was ousted as president after 37 years.Suggest a correction