THE MDC formations boycotted President Robert Mugabe’s swearing in ceremony at the National Sports Stadium today in protest against what they described as celebrating a “stolen election”.
Herbert Moyo/Hazel Ndebele
Only Zanu PF supporters and party heavyweights attended the inauguration. The MDC-T went to the Constitutional Court although it later withdrew the case challenging the election results citing allegations of rigging. Mugabe was declared the Presidential winner by the Concourt on Tuesday to pave way for his swearing in ceremony today.
Thousands of people attended the ceremony, which was graced by several heads of African states and former presidents.
Among those who attended were former presidents South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki, Namibia’s Sam Nujoma, Tanzania’s Benjamin Mkapa, Botswana’s Festus Mogae and Ketumile Masire. Also in attendance were DRC president Joseph Kabila, South Africa’s deputy President Kgalema Montlante, Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba, Tanzania leader Jikaya Kikwete.
Mugabe made a grand entrance amid wild celebrations from his supporters, most of whom were bussed from provinces across the country.
EU ambassador Aldo del Arricia and other western envoys attended but were seated on the stands unlike their African counterparts who were given rapturous welcome upon their arrival.
The “them and us” suggested by this sitting arrangement apparently mirrored the strained relations between Mugabe and western countries.
Mugabe appeared to stalk the flames of confrontation by his prepared speech with references to detractors and “people of ill-will” before hailing Sadc and the AU for coming with references to “African solutions to African problems”.