In his first public appearance since fleeing the country after his dismissal as vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe was witnessing the beginning of a new democracy.
Mnangagwa, who arrived back in the country on Wednesday afternoon, will be inaugurated as the president this week after Robert Mugabe resigned on Tuesday.
"The will of the people will always, always succeed," Mnangagwa said to hundreds of supporters who had been gathering since early afternoon at the Zanu PF headquarters.
"The voice of the people is the voice of God," he said, a line that emerged in a statement he released on Tuesday as well.
Mnangagwa said it was "exactly 16 days ago" that he received a letter informing him that he had been removed as vice president.
"Within two hours I was informed about plans to eliminate me," he said.
'A new unfolding democracy'
Mnangagwa fled the country and only returned on Wednesday after Mugabe was ousted as president after 37 years.
Mnangagwa arrived with around 10 bodyguards as he said his safety and security was still being assessed.
"Today we are witnessing the beginning of a new unfolding democracy," he said.
Mnangagwa thanked the military for their work in helping the people of Zimbabwe to get rid of Mugabe and said he had been in constant contact with the military generals.
He said Zimbabweans had done a great job in conducting themselves in a disciplined and orderly manner.
"The way you have managed this process makes SADC proud," he said.
Mnangagwa said he had met with President Jacob Zuma who pledged his support along with other regional leaders.
Mnangagwa is expected to be inaugurated on Friday. He said some regional leaders had already confirmed they would be attending the inauguration, while others sent messages of support.