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New President Emmerson Mnangagwa promises a fresh start for Zimbabwe

Emmerson Mnangagwa is sworn in as President of Zimbabwe. Credit: AP

The new Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised a fresh start and new era for his country.

In his inauguration speech his most important commitment was to what he called "free and fair elections", which will be held before August next year.

In what has already become a popular mantra for his people, he also promised "jobs, jobs, jobs" for a nation where 90% of people are unemployed.

He also said he would stamp down on corruption and promised desperately needed foreign investment would be safe.

Mr Mnangagwa also had a direct message for Britain and other western powers whose economic sanctions Zimbabwe says has helped cripple their economy.

"We are ready to rejoin the family of nations", he said.

Many pessimists doubt that Mr Mnangagwa, for four decades Robert Mugabe's closest ally, can really transform the country's fortunes

But the 60,000 people crammed inside the National Sports Stadium for today's swearing-in ceremony full of military pomp and ceremony, will head home with a renewed sense of confidence about their future.