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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Robert Mugabe sworn in again as Zimbabwe president
    The Guardian (UK)

    August 22, 2013

    Africa's oldest leader takes oath of office for fifth term as MDC boycotts ceremony and critics insist election was not credible

    Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, Africa's oldest leader at 89, has been sworn in for a new five-year term in the face of criticism from opponents and the west that his re-election in July was not credible.

    Mugabe, who has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980, has told critics to "go hang" and has vowed to press ahead with nationalist policies forcing foreign firms to turn over majority stakes to black Zimbabweans.

    He took his new oath of office before the bewigged chief justice, Godfrey Chidyausiku, at a ceremony in a 60,000-seat football stadium in Harare witnessed by thousands of cheering supporters, diplomats and delegations from the region.

    His longtime rival and opponent in the last three elections, Morgan Tsvangirai, boycotted the ceremony. He has denounced the 31 July election as a "huge fraud" and a "coup by ballot", alleging massive rigging by Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. Mugabe and his ruling party have rejected these allegations.

    This will be Mugabe's fifth term as president of the southern African state since 1987. He also served as prime minister after independence in 1980 ended white minority rule in the country previously known as Rhodesia.

    Mugabe and senior officials from his ruling Zanu-PF party are the target of sanctions imposed by western governments, which have accused them of staying in power through massive human rights violations and vote rigging.

    Britain said on Thursday that Mugabe's re-election could not be deemed credible without an independent investigation into allegations of voting irregularities.

    US officials this week said the election was flawed and Washington had no plans to loosen sanctions until there were signs of change in the country.

    The European Union is to review relations with Zimbabwe given its "serious concerns" about the election, the EU foreign policy chief, Lady Ashton, said on Thursday.

    The EU's verdict on the fairness of the elections will be crucial to a decision on whether it continues to ease sanctions.

    Soon after the 31 July vote, which went ahead peacefully in contrast to the violence after the 2008 election, domestic monitors from the Zimbabwe Election Support Network said registration flaws may have disenfranchised up to a million people out of 6.4 million registered voters.

    But observer missions from the regional 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union broadly endorsed the vote as free and peaceful and called on all parties to accept its results.

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