Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as prime minister yesterday, joining President Robert Mugabe in a unity government after a decade of struggling to push him from power.
"I will well and truly serve Zimbabwe in the office of prime minister," Tsvangirai said as he took his oath of office from Mugabe under a white tent on the lawns of the presidential mansion.
Former SA president Thabo Mbeki, pictured, who mediated in the power-sharing talks, attended the ceremony, along with Mozambican President Armando Guebuza and Swazi King Mswati III.
After the ceremony, Tsvangirai addressed his supporters.
Tsvangirai's decision to bring his Movement for Democratic Change into the unity government has raised doubts abroad and sparked fierce debate within his own party.
Tsvangirai is all too aware of the concerns that he, like earlier Mugabe rivals, could be swallowed into the ruling Zanu-PF party without changing the course of a nation that is, by any measure, disintegrating.
"The sceptics must understand why we have done this and what is the best course of action to address the questions and challenges of transition in this political environment," Tsvangirai said.
"We made this decision without being forced. We want our colleagues to approach it from that perspective. Let history be the judge of that," he said.
Said Daniel Makina of the University of South Africa: "Tsvangirai's swearing-in symbolises a new era for the people of Zimbabwe." - Sapa-AFP