HARARE, ZIMBABWE —
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has taken the oath of office again, weeks after a poll that was widely criticized and even challenged in court. The occasion marks the continuation of the 33-year rule of one of the world’s longest-serving leaders.
"I, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Zimbabwe and observe the laws of Zimbabwe, so help me God."
That was the 89-year-old Zimbabwean leader’s seventh time reciting those words since 1980 when the country got its independence from Britain. As expected, he took a swipe at those who did not recognize his 61 to 34 percent win in the July 31 elections.
“For those Western countries who happen to hold a negative view of our electoral processes and outcome, well, there is not much we can do about them. We dismiss them as the vile ones whose moral turpitude we must mourn,” he said.
In the July 31 elections, Mugabe defeated his main political rival, Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai. His spokesman, Luke Tamborinyoka, explains why former the prime minister boycotted the Thursday event.
“The election was stolen. That is what we are saying. This is a party by thieves. And as such we are looking at robbers celebrating their theft today,” said Tamborinyoka.
There was a party Thursday to mark the occasion of Mugabe's inauguration. The presidential guard was distributing fast food, chicken and chips, to delegates in T-shirts with images of a youthful President Robert Mugabe.
In his speech, Mugabe said he would continue with his policy of indigenization to empower black Zimbabweans as part of his efforts to prop up a battered economy.
Several African leaders and former presidents attended the swearing in.