HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — 7:55 p.m.
Zimbabwe's incoming leader Emmerson Mnangagwa says he was in constant contact with military leaders during the tumultuous two weeks between his firing by Robert Mugabe and his return to the country to replace him.
Mnangagwa spoke to a crowd outside ruling party headquarters in his first speech since his return. In his brief remarks he described threats to his life, including a poisoning in August. He said that when he was threatened after his firing by Mugabe he fled the country.
He also pledged "jobs, jobs" for Zimbabweans, a promise greeted with a roar in a once-prosperous country whose economy has collapsed. He asked for cooperation from fellow African nations.
And speaking in the Shona language, he repeatedly backed the ruling party and said "down with enemies." He will be sworn in Friday.
Zimbabwe's incoming leader Emmerson Mnangagwa says the country is witnessing a "new and unfolding democracy" in his first public speech in his new role.
He is addressing a huge crowd outside ruling party headquarters, speaking hours after returning to the country. He fled earlier this month after his firing by Robert Mugabe, who resigned on Tuesday under pressure from the military and ruling party.
Mnangagwa says the pressure to "derail the process" of getting Mugabe to step down was intense but "the will of the people will always, always succeed."
He will be sworn in Friday morning.
Zimbabwe's incoming leader Emmerson Mnangagwa is thanking the people "in the name of our lord" in his first public speech in his new role.
He is addressing a huge crowd outside ruling party headquarters and describing recent attempts to kill him.
Mnangagwa is speaking hours after returning to the country. He fled earlier this month after his firing by Robert Mugabe.
He was introduced as "president-in-waiting" by a speaker who praised Zimbabwe's military as "the most disciplined army in the world" during the past week's events, which led to Mugabe's resignation.
Zimbabwe's incoming leader Emmerson Mnangagwa is making his first public appearance since returning to the country.
He raises his fists as the crowds outside ruling party headquarters cheer. He dances a little, to the people's delight, and is flanked by several bodyguards.
Mnangagwa's firing by Robert Mugabe earlier this month led the military to step in and engineer Mugabe's downfall. Mugabe resigned Tuesday amid impeachment proceedings.
Mnangagwa had fled the country, citing threats to his life, but returned Wednesday, flying in from neighboring South Africa.
Human rights activists are warning that it will take more than replacing Robert Mugabe to change Zimbabwe's fortunes.
Activist Maureen Kademauga tells reporters in Johannesburg that "Mugabe the infrastructure, Mugabe the culture, Mugabe the ideology, Mugabe the system — what I prefer to call Mugabism — is still there. And we need to continue fighting."
The activists spoke shortly before incoming leader and Mugabe's former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa was expected to make his first public speech upon his return to the country.
His firing by Mugabe earlier this month led the military to step in, and overwhelming pressure on Mugabe led him to resign Tuesday amid impeachment proceedings.
The activists are calling for free and fair elections to determine Zimbabwe's future. Dewa Mavhinga of Human Rights Watch says that "the military works on orders. I believe they were given a command to be nice, to smile, for a while but we should not make the mistake of believing that overnight this was a revolution and everything is over."
A crowd has gathered in expectation of a speech by Zimbabwe's incoming leader Emmerson Mnangagwa after his return to the country.
Hundreds of people are outside ruling party headquarters where Mnangagwa is being briefed.
He will be sworn in Friday following Robert Mugabe's stunning resignation after 37 years.
A Zimbabwe ruling party official says incoming leader Emmerson Mnangagwa has returned to the country.
Chief whip Lovemore Matuke confirms that Mnangagwa is in the capital, Harare, and will meet Politburo members at party headquarters for a briefing "on what has been happening in his absence."
Mnangagwa fled the country after former President Robert Mugabe fired him earlier this month, leading the military to step in. Mugabe resigned Tuesday amid impeachment proceedings after an outpouring of opposition to his 37-year-rule.
Zimbabweans are gathering outside ruling party headquarters to await the expected arrival of incoming leader Emmerson Mnangagwa.
He emerged from hiding earlier Wednesday, meeting with South Africa's president and boarding a jet from Johannesburg. He will be sworn in Friday after Robert Mugabe's stunning resignation.
Car horns and celebrations can be heard as a motorcade believed to be carrying Mnangagwa passes through the capital, Harare.
Zimbabwe's incoming leader Emmerson Mnangagwa has just departed from an airport in neighboring South Africa to make his return to his country.
An Associated Press witness saw him depart, shortly after Mnangagwa met with South African President Jacob Zuma.
Mnangagwa is set to arrive at a military air base in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, and will be sworn in Friday morning at a local stadium.
South Africa's presidential office has just tweeted photos of Mnangagwa and Zuma shaking hands and smiling.
The Zimbabwe ruling party's chief whip says new leader Emmerson Mnangagwa will be sworn in Friday at 10:30 a.m. at the 60,000-seat National Sports Stadium on the outskirts of the capital, Harare.
Lovemore Matuke tells the state-run broadcaster that until then Mnangagwa will not be speaking to the media.
Singing and cheering crowds are gathering at a military air base in Harare for Mnangagwa's arrival. He fled the country shortly after his firing earlier this month by Robert Mugabe, who resigned Tuesday amid impeachment proceedings.
Mnangagwa is expected to go to ruling party headquarters for a briefing upon his arrival. He will be just the second president in Zimbabwe's history. Mugabe ruled for 37 years.
Signs in the welcoming crowd read "Welcome back, our hero" and "True to your word, you're back. Welcome."
A man in the crowd, Godwin Nyarugwa, says he is "very ecstatic" and that "we need change in this country, change in everything."
The speaker of Zimbabwe's Parliament says the ruling party has notified him that Emmerson Mnangagwa is nominated to replace Robert Mugabe as president and that he will be sworn in on Friday.
Mnangagwa is expected to arrive at a military air base in the capital, Harare, shortly. Crowds are gathering.
Mugabe resigned Tuesday amid impeachment proceedings.
Zimbabwe's state-run broadcaster says incoming leader Emmerson Mnangagwa will arrive today and be sworn in Friday.
The report posted online says it has it "on good authority" that Mnangagwa will arrive at 6 p.m. today at a military air base in the capital, Harare.
Mnangagwa has been out of sight since he fled the country shortly after his firing by Robert Mugabe early this month. Mugabe resigned Tuesday amid impeachment proceedings.
China says it respects the choice of Robert Mugabe to resign as president of Zimbabwe and that he "is still our good friend."
China's foreign ministry says that Mugabe "made historic contributions to the national independence and liberation cause in Zimbabwe" and "has long been committed to friendship between China and Zimbabwe."
Ministry spokesman Lu Kang also says China hopes that other countries can refrain from interfering in Zimbabwe's domestic affairs. That comes after the United States called for "free and fair elections."
Mugabe's resignation was announced during Parliament impeachment proceedings. He stepped down under immense pressure after 37 years in power.
Zimbabwe's recently fired vice president is set to return today to be sworn in as the country's new leader.
The transfer of power to Emmerson Mnangagwa comes after Robert Mugabe announced his resignation in the middle of impeachment proceedings again him.
Zimbabweans erupted in response, cheering and dancing in the streets.
Now the focus turns to Mnangagwa, Mugabe's longtime deputy who was pushed aside earlier this month as unpopular first lady Grace Mugabe positioned herself to replace him and succeed her husband. Mnangagwa fled the country, claiming threats on his life.
That led the military to step in a week ago, opening the door for the ruling party and the people to publicly turn against the president.
It is not clear what Robert and Grace Mugabe will do next.