Zimbabwe: Mnangagwa Invites Tsvangirai to Inauguration, but Mugabe Misses Event

24 November 2017

EX-PREMIER Morgan Tsvangirai was Thursday said to have received a last minute formal invitation to Friday's inauguration of Zimbabwean president designate Emmerson Mnangagwa as it was revealed that Robert Mugabe would miss the event.

Information ministry permanent secretary George Charamba confirmed that the deposed 93-year-old would not be at the National Sports Stadium on Friday after the two leaders conferred over the matter.

"Both of them agreed that the former President needed time to rest after the hectic events of the week-and-a-half that has gone by and that therefore he may not be attending tomorrow's inauguration.

"He (Mugabe) gave the incoming President his good wishes and support."

The overture to the MDC-T leader was made as suspense continues to grow over Mnangagwa's plans about the opposition's participation in his government.

NewZimbabwe.com could not readily verify social media reports linking Tsvangirai to a surprise invitation to Mnangagwa's crowning moment as his spokespersons were not readily available via their mobile phones.

But earlier during the day, MDC-T secretary general Douglas Mwonzora had said his party was not invited to the event.

"There are two explanations to it; the first one is that they don't want us to be there and we are quiet okay with it," Mwonzora said during an earlier interview which came before the said invitation.

"If it is deliberate, then it speaks to the policy that he as the new president is going to pursue against the opposition.

"It's abnormal not to invite a former Prime Minister to the inauguration. It's also abnormal not to invite other political parties to the inauguration."

Mwonzora added; "The other explanation is that the people in charge may be so amateurish and drunk with excitement.

"I don't know which is which but after all is said and done, I think this is poor display of statesmanship."

Opposition PDP president Tendai Biti could not be reached to confirm whether he would attend, but party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said they were not invited.

"The only invitation that I saw is the general invitation of all parties," Mafume said.

The government however said the inauguration was an open even, meaning anyone was welcome to attend.

Mnangagwa was sacked by then President Robert Mugabe but bounced back in spectacular form after the military forced the veteran State leader out to pave way for his return.

His unfolding tenure as post-independence Zimbabwe's second executive leader has been met with renewed optimism among locals with wide speculation he may choose to incorporate individuals from the opposition in his government.

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