World Bulletin/News Desk
Robert Mugabe was sworn in on Thursday as president of Zimbabwe for a seventh five-year term following disputed election which was held on July 31, promising Zimbabweans a better future and taking a swipe at "vile" western countries.
"I swear to observe, uphold and defend the constitution of Zimbabwe," Mugabe said to the cheers of over 60,000 supporters who packed a giant national sports stadium to witness his inauguration.
The oath was administered by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku in a gala ceremony attended by more than 40 African and Asian heads of states.
Thursday was declared a national holiday to allow the ruling ZANUPF supporters to attend the celebrations.
On August 3, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) confirmed Mugabe as the winner of the presidential election with 61.09% of the vote, while his rival, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, had received only 33.94%.
Mugabe's ZANUPF party had won 158 seats in the 210-seat National Assembly, while Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had won 50 seats. The remaining two seats, meanwhile, went to independent candidates.
The polling was endorsed by the Southern African Development Community Election Observation Mission.
The United States and Britain have both raised grave concerns about the vote.
In his inauguration address Mugabe took a swipe at western countries which refused to recognize the outcome of the election, saying their "moral turpitude we must mourn."
“Today it is Britain and her dominions of Australia and Canada who dare tell us that our elections were not fair and credible," he said.
“Today it is America and her illegal elections with all that past of enslaving us, it is America that dares raise a censorious voice over our affairs and says our elections were not fair, were not credible," Mugabe added.
"Yes today it is these Anglo-Saxon who dare contradict Africa’s verdict over elections in Zimbabwe, an African country. But who are they we ask? Whoever gave them the gift of seeing better than all of us?”
Banners around the giant stadium conveyed the same message, praising African leaders and denouncing western countries for interfering in African affairs.
"Which African ever observed elections in Europe, America?" was the message on one banner.
"Africa has spoken, respect its voice," read another.
Zimbabwe has been under sanctions by the European Union and the US since the violent farm invasions in 2000.
"Most likely we shall remain under these sanctions for much longer," Mugabe told his supporters.
In a ceremony boycotted by opposition leader Tsvangirai, Mugabe promised to improve the conditions for the people of Zimbabwe.
”I promise your better conditions," he told thousands of cheering supporters.
"The mining sector will be the centerpiece of your economy recovery and growth. It should generate growth spurts across all sectors."
Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since it won its independence from Britain in 1970.
But a local newspaper on Thursday called the inauguration a farewell party for the president who turns 90 next February.
Alfred Ndlovu, a local political analyst, seemed to agree.
"While some people see this event as a celebration, to me this is Mugabe's last supper," Ndlovu told Anadolu Agency.
"Obviously he will not contest the next election due in 2018 and at his age the next five years will be very difficult for him," he added.
"Actually I will be surprised if he competes the 5 years in office.”Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Ağustos 2013, 22:26