24/11/2017 09:34 SAST | Updated 24/11/2017 09:34 SAST

What To Expect At Emmerson Mnangagwa's Inauguration

Robert Mugabe might be there, but Jacob Zuma will not.

TONY KARUMBA via Getty Images
Zimbabwe Defence Force military brass band marches foward November 23, 2017 during drills to prepare for the inauguration of incoming president Emerson Mnangagwa at the capital Harare's national stadium.

Preparations are underway at Zimbabwe's National Stadium this morning where Emmerson Mnagagwa is due to be inaugurated as that country's first new president in almost four decades.

Reports from Zimbabwean media claim former president Robert Mugabe will attend the ceremony -- where some 60,000 people are expected -- while Reuters reported that the former despot was "too tired" to attend. Whether he turns up is still to be seen.

But President Jacob Zuma will not be there when Mnangagwa takes his oath of office.

In his apology for not attending the momentous occasion, Zuma sent well-wishes to Mugabe, emphasising that "his contribution to the liberation of the southern African region and the decolonisation of the continent in general will always be acknowledged and celebrated".

According to The Herald, the Zimbabwean government yesterday availed 125 buses to carry people from all the 10 provinces to the stadium and it urged employers to give employees the day off so that they could attend the ceremony.

Presidents Edgar Lungu of Zambia, Ian Khama of Botswana and Namibian vice-president Nickey Iyambo have confirmed they will be attending, according to foreign affairs secretary Ambassador Joey Bimha.

Mugabe was forced to resign on Tuesday after 37 years at the helm following what has been described as a military coup. The U.K.'s Africa minister Rory Stewart will also be in attendance. Stewart told AFP that the inauguration was a critical moment following "Mugabe's ruinous rule".

At the ceremony, Mnagagwa is expected to announce his office's new cabinet, after long-serving members of Mugabe's presidency rfollowed suit and resigned.