Thursday, September 12, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) I promise you better conditions: Mugabe
Regional endorsement ... Regional leaders who attended Thursday's inaguration
22/08/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter I Agencies

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe said Thursday he would now turn his attention to addressing the country economic problems and delivering on his election promises following his inauguration before a capacity 60,000 crowd at the national sports stadium in Harare.

Festooned in a sash, garland and medals, the 89-year-old was sworn in for his seventh term as leader of the country by chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku during a ceremony also attended by several current and former regional leaders.

“I stand before you as now a sworn President of Zimbabwe,” he told he told cheering crowd.

“My mandate comes from the just-ended election in which I should say through my party, Zanu PF, you gave me and my party that mandate as the party won the elections resoundingly.”

Unlike previous low-key investitures, Thursday's event - replete with banners, flags and chants - carried strong echoes of Mugabe's inauguration as prime minister of a newly independent Zimbabwe in 1980.

Hints by the West that debilitating sanctions would likely be kept in place and a no-show by leaders from neighbouring countries - including President Jacob Zuma of regional power-broker South Africa - did little to dampen enthusiasm.

Neither did a boycott by opposition leader and former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who insists the 31 July vote was stolen.

Mugabe was greeted in the stadium by thunderous cheers and whistling. On board a military truck he inspected assembled military personnel.

His address however, showed an awareness of the enormity of the task he faces following his landslide victory in the elections which also ended his coalition arrangement with Tsvangirai.
“There are key truths that come with that victory, which come with that honour,” he said.

“The peasant who cast his vote on July 31 created my victory and that made a portion of my presidency. I am at his service. I am his emissary and servant. He or she did not cast that precious vote in vain.

“The business person, he or she too voted for me, contributing to my presidency. He or she too has definite expectations founded on his or her role in society as a creator of work. So, all these and others who contributed to our victory have also expectations.

“What shall we do now to contribute towards their own lives? The farmer - small, medium, big - voted for my party, thereby assisting in my presidency. His vote was his input.

“I am the instrument of his dream, the self-employed man and woman all struggling on the margin of the former economy, in the SMEs, he or she has greater expectations. Great expectations from all of them. They have lives to build; they have children to look after, generations to take care of.

“The new cabinet is expected to move very swift in mobilising adequate resources for farmers and electricity to make a return of food sufficiency. (We must) think about all those demands on us. Let us therefore think of our obligations and ways and means to fulfil those expectations, to satisfy them.

“In Bulawayo, water must be re-supplied. We cannot have erratic water supplies in cities. Hospitals and clinics must have adequate drugs and equipment. Road maintenance equipment for the rural development agencies must be improved.

"The mining sector will be the centrepiece of our economic recovery and growth. It should generate growth spurts across sector; reignite that economic miracle which must now happen."

He added: "I promise you better conditions (but also) call upon you all to summon your goodwill to live the skills you now have; (and we created a lot of skills amongst us) those skills must now be put to use.”

The veteran leader rejected western criticism of his re-election but conceded that sanctions which had been eased to encourage the country to hold free and fair elections would now likely remain in place.

"We dismiss them as the vile ones whose moral turpitude we must mourn," he said venting against Britain, Australia, Canada and the United States.
"Most likely we shall remain under these sanctions for much longer (but) we continue to look East.”

Gates to the Chinese-built stadium opened shortly after dawn. The day had been declared a public holiday, helping boost attendance.

Banners around the oval stadium carried messages praising African leaders and denouncing Western governments accused of meddling in Zimbabwe's political affairs.

"Which African ever observed elections in Europe, America?" read one banner. "Africa has spoken, respect it's voice," said another.

The inauguration had been delayed after Tsvangirai challenged the poll results - which he denounced as "massive fraud" - in a petition to the Constitutional Court that was later withdrawn.

The Constitutional Court confirmed Mugabe as president and declared the elections "free, fair and credible", saying the results "reflected the free will of the people of Zimbabwe".

Eldred Masunungure, a political scientist from the University of Zimbabwe, said the event was at once Mugabe's victory lap and his "last supper".

"This inauguration is being projected as the crowning of a victory of a struggle for the past 13 years against big Western powers," he said.

There is however also an "unintended meaning", he said. "It can be read as a farewell event for Mugabe. It reminds one of Jesus's Last Supper."

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