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Mugabe sworn in as Zimbabwe president

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Mugabe sworn in as Zimbabwe president
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Harare: Robert Mugabe was Thursday sworn in for a new five-year term as President of Zimbabwe and remains Africa's oldest serving ruler at the age of 89.

Mugabe has been the leader of Zimbabwe since 1980.

Zimbabwe's Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku administered the oath of office to Mugabe shortly before 12 noon, Xinhua reported.

Tens of thousands of people witnessed the ceremony, which ended with a 21-gun salute and a cultural gala at the country's giant 60,000-capacity National Sports Stadium.

His inauguration marks the end of Zimbabwe's factitious four-year coalition government with the outgoing prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, and also marks the introduction of the country's new constitution adopted in March.

The new constitution, for the first time, limits the office of president to a maximum of two five-year terms.

Various heads of states including Tanzania's Jakaya Kikwete, Mozambique's Armando Guebuza, Equatorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, and Rajkeswur Purryag of Mauritius were among those present during the ceremony.

The swearing-in was held after a court ruled Tuesday affirming that Mugabe was duly elected in the July 31 vote, throwing out a challenge filed by Tsvangirai, who claimed widespread vote rigging despite a largely peaceful electoral process.

Mugabe won the vote by 61 percent against Tsvangirai's 34 percent.

Many African countries congratulated Mugabe for winning the elections while the West, led by the US and Britain, refused to endorse Mugabe's win, citing fundamental flaws in the electoral process.

IANS

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