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August 21, 2013

Swearing-in Set for Zimbabwe's Mugabe

by VOA News

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is set to be inaugurated on Thursday, a move that will extend his 33 years in power by another five years.

The swearing-in ceremony for the 89-year-old leader had been delayed by an election challenge from rival Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party.

​​The MDC said the July 31 polling was rigged. However, on Tuesday, the constitutional court dismissed a challenge from the opposition party.

Outgoing Prime Minister Tsvangirai says he has no plans to attend Thursday's inauguration. A Tsvangirai spokesman, Luke Tamborinyoka says the election was "stolen" and the prime minister could not attend a party hosted by "robbers."

John Campbell is an Africa analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations. He said Zimbabwe could face increased instability under Mr. Mugabe's incoming administration.

"I suspect we will see increasingly arbitrary and radical behavior. He has already talked about essentially transferring foreign-owned enterprises to Zimbabweans."  Campbell added that if the transfer plan goes forward, Zimbabwe could face more economic challenges.

"it is very difficult to conceive of foreign investors investing in Zimbabwe under those circumstances. Without foreign investment, without an expansion of the economy, it is very difficult to see how the country will break out of its current cycle of poverty.” Campbell said.

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since the country won independence in 1980.

His ZANU-PF party and the MDC previously were the main parties in a power-sharing government formed under pressure by the South African Development Community the disputed and violent 2008 elections.