South Africa installs Zuma as president
PRETORIA - Jacob Zuma took power yesterday in the culmination of an extraordinary political comeback, pledging to Nelson Mandela and the nation to renew the spirit of commitment and hope of South Africa's first black presidency.
Zuma was once imprisoned under apartheid and spent years in exile before surviving corruption and sex scandals and a party power struggle to reach the nation's highest office. He has been embraced by many South Africans with a fervor usually reserved for Mandela.
The elder statesman was cheered as he arrived for the inauguration in a golf cart to join the 5,000 VIP guests and tens of thousands of ordinary South Africans who had gathered for the ceremony.
In a speech after taking the oath, Zuma looked back to 1994, when Mandela became president after leading the campaign that defeated apartheid.
"We gather here determined to renew that most solemn undertaking, to build a society in which all people are freed from the shackles of discrimination, exploitation, want, and disease," Zuma said.
Zuma, a 67-year-old former guerrilla fighter and intelligence chief of the African National Congress, led his ANC party to an overwhelming parliamentary victory in April. Parliament elected him president on Wednesday.