Emmerson Mnangagwa, the president of Zimbabwe, was sworn in for a second term on Monday after being proclaimed the winner of a contentious election last month.

PHOTO | COURTESY Emmerson Mnangagwa

On August 23, Zimbabweans went to the polls to pick a new president, lawmakers, and members of local councils, but the main opposition party called the results a "gigantic fraud."

In his speech following his inauguration, Mnangagwa begged for unity in the wake of the elections and committed to restoring the faltering economy.

According to Mnangagwa, "Responsive policies that started in the first term of my presidency are on course to lift many out of poverty."

PHOTO | COURTESY Emmerson Mnangagwa

Most of Mnangagwa's fans arrived by bus from around the nation, and they sang and danced as the 80-year-old entered the National Sports Stadium with his wife.

Before Chief Justice Luke Malaba, who in 2018 ruled Mnangagwa the victor after a constitutional court case, he took the oath of office.

"I am the president of everyone. I give you both unity on an individual and a group level, Mnangagwa stated.

African politicians who attended the swearing-in ceremony were South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Mozambican President Phillipe Nyusi, and Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi. Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema opted not to.

The commencement of Mnangagwa's second term coincides with persistent economic hardships, with the Zim dollar down 80% from the year's beginning and international assistance still on hold.

The opposition Citizens' Coalition for Change (CCC) party's 45-year-old leader, Nelson Chamisa, demanded a new election after his group claimed the poll was "flawed" but chose not to contest the outcome in court, paving the way for Mnangagwa's inauguration.

PHOTO | COURTESY Emmerson Mnangagwa

Mnangagwa had urged the opposition to court, but he insisted that the vote was legitimate and warned that anyone stirring up trouble would face harsh punishment.