Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has been sworn in for a new
five-year term, after winning an election that many observers dismissed
as a sham tainted by ruling party violence.
Mr. Mugabe took the oath of office at State House in Harare Sunday,
about an hour after the electoral commission said he won Friday's
In his inauguration speech, the president called for "serious dialogue"
with the opposition to minimize differences and enhance cooperation.
On Sunday, a team of election observers from the Southern African
Development Community said Zimbabwe's vote failed to reflect the will
of the people. The SADC team said the process leading up to the
election did not conform to regional principles and guidelines
governing democratic elections.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew from the poll last week,
saying pro-Mugabe militants had killed dozens and injured thousands of
his supporters in the run-up to the vote.
He declined an invitation to attend Sunday's inauguration, denouncing it as "meaningless."
Earlier, an observer team from the Pan African Parliament called for
new elections, saying Friday's vote was not credible. Mission leader
Marwick Khumalo said hate speech, incitement to violence and war
rhetoric instilled fear and trepidation in voters. He also said it is
hard to dismiss the claims that election-related violence in Zimbabwe
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission issued the results of Friday's
run-off in less than 48 hours, compared to a wait of more than five
weeks for the results of the first-round election in March.
Mr. Tsvangirai defeated Mr. Mugabe in that first vote, but official results showed him falling just short of a majority.
The results from this election showed Mr. Mugabe winning about
two-point-15 million votes, or 85 percent of the tally. Opposition
leader Tsvangirai received about 233-thousand votes, while more than
130-thousand other ballots were defaced or spoiled.
Voter turnout was put at a little more than 42 percent.
President Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since the country won independence from Britain in 1980.