Zim vice-president now acting president

President Robert Mugabe has gone on leave for a month and will only be back in mid-January.

FILE: Zimbabwe’s new vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa is already acting president after being sworn in on Friday. Picture: AFP

ZIMBABWE - Zimbabwe's new vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa is already acting president after being sworn in on Friday.

That's because President Robert Mugabe has gone on leave for a month and will only be back in mid-January.

This time last week, Mnangagwa was the justice minister.

For many locals, his stand-in will be confirmation that he has got about as close to the centre of Zimbabwean power as possible.

Mnangagwa's wife, Auxilia Mnangagwa, who is a Zanu-PF official, told local media that her husband is a quiet man who never yells at her.

She says he's a hands-on farmer and a happy father of twins.

MUGABE SWEARS IN NEW NUMBER TWO

A second vice-president and several more ministers were sworn in at the same ceremony in the wake of a perceived purge by ousted vice-president, Joice Mujuru.

In a solemn ceremony, Mugabe's new number two vowed to uphold the Constitution and obey the laws of Zimbabwe.

But the room erupted into loud cheers once the man nicknamed 'The Crocodile' had completed the formalities.

Mnangagwa will retain his position as justice minister in addition to being vice-president.

Former Zimbabwe ambassador to South Africa, Phelekezela Mphoko, also took his oath of office as the second vice-president.

Several ministers and deputy ministers were sworn in to replace those who were ousted for their perceived loyalty to Mujuru, who was fired for allegedly plotting to topple Mugabe.