Emmerson Mnangagwa has been sworn in as the new president of Zimbabwe, less than a month after he was sacked as vice-president.

He took the oath of office on Friday, becoming the country’s 3rd president since it gained independence in 1980.

Mnangagwa raised a loud cheer when he pledged that “free and fair elections” would be held next year as scheduled and that the “people’s voice would be heard”.

ALSO: Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe finally resigns after 37 years in power

Mnangagwa’s sack had triggered a political crisis in the country, with the army strong-arming now-ex president Robert Mugabe into resigning.

Mnangagwa said “Mugabe’s immense contribution” to Zimbabwe should be recognised. “He fought for our freedom … let us all accept and acknowledge his immense contribution to our nation,” the new president said to muted applause.

Despite his long association with a brutal government that presided over Zimbabwe’s decline, Mnangagwa promised democracy and reached out to other countries for help.

Mnangagwa has promised he will create jobs and make efforts to attract foreign investors. The new president said land reforms that led to the violent seizure of thousands of white-owned farms from 2000 would not be reversed, but promised compensation.