By Professor Matodzi
Harare, August 22, 2013 – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Thursday railed against western governments for condemning his victory in last month’s presidential elections as he took a new oath of office to serve his seventh tenure as leader of the troubled southern African country.
In an address to thousands of his supporters who gathered for his inauguration ceremony held Thursday in the capital Harare, Mugabe singled out Britain, United States of America, Australia and Canada for censoring his country’s domestic affairs by assessing that the harmonized elections were not free and fair.
“We will not bow to any foreign government. We cannot be bought. We belong to Africa. Who are they? Who gave them a gift of seeing better than us? questioned Mugabe.
The Zanu PF leader took an oath of loyalty and office before Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku as prescribed by the country’s constitution and was adorned with a presidential girdle as with tradition.
He pledged to protect and promote the rights of Zimbabweans during his term of office.
“I will observe the laws of Zimbabwe, so help me God,” said Mugabe as he took his oath.
The Zanu PF leader, who was declared winner of the July 31 presidential election after gaining 61 percent of the vote against MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s 33 percent heaped praises on SADC and the African Union for facilitating political dialogue between his Zanu PF party and the MDC-T which culminated in the formation of a rickety coalition government which slightly eased the country’s agonizing economic crisis.
Mugabe paid tribute to Tsvangirai, MDC leader and outgoing Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube and outgoing deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara for helping craft a new governance charter that replaced the Lancaster House constitution, an exercise he said was a “difficult march”.
The swearing in ceremony was largely attended by members of the apostolic church sect, Zanu PF supporters, some few heads of state and government among them Tanzanian leader Jakaya Kikwete and Equatorial Guinea President Theodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Former African government leaders among them Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania also attended as Mugabe sought to legitimize his disputed election victory.
Mugabe said his soon to be named new government will focus on rebuilding the country’s battered nation through implementing an indigenization and economic empowerment plan and exploiting the country’s rich mineral deposits. He also pledged to fulfill his party’s election campaign promises such as hiking salaries for government workers and improving social service delivery.
“`The mining sector will be the centerpiece of our economic recovery and growth. We need to intensify the exploitation of our mineral deposits,” Mugabe said.
Local election observers and western governments earned Mugabe and his Zanu PF party’s ire after condemning last month’s election result as not fair and credible while several of Tsvangirai’s parliamentary candidates have flooded the Electoral Court with petitions challenging their defeat to Zanu PF legislators.