Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

'It's a War, Stupid!'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French PM calls on ECB to go further to help economy

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'I love the Socialists'

Read more

WEB NEWS

Ukraine: Web users call for international assistance

Read more

WEB NEWS

France: Fighting political corruption with transparency

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

South Africa: Four men found guilty of shooting Rwandan exile

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - August 29th, 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - August 29th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Armeli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • Anti-government protesters storm Pakistan's state TV

    Read more

  • PSG trounce Saint-Etienne 5-0 with Ibrahimovic hat trick

    Read more

  • Putin calls for talks on 'statehood' for east Ukraine

    Read more

  • Rescue efforts under way after French apartment block blast

    Read more

  • Poland marks 75 years since German invasion of WWII

    Read more

  • Israel appropriates large tracts of West Bank land

    Read more

  • Tension rises in Hong Kong as Beijing rejects open elections

    Read more

  • French police stop 'teenage jihadist' from flying to Syria

    Read more

  • Kidnapped Yazidi women 'sold to Islamists' in Syria

    Read more

  • Confusion reigns after Lesotho 'coup'

    Read more

  • French PM vows to safeguard 35-hour work week

    Read more

  • Inside Novoazovsk – the pro-Russians' latest conquest

    Read more

  • Filipino UN troops escape Islamists in Golan Heights

    Read more

UN: Mugabe election 'not legitimate'

Latest update : 2008-07-01

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has deemed "not legitimate" the re-election of President Robert Mugabe, who was sworn in on Sunday following a long, contentious election. (Report: C. Norris-Trent)

Robert Mugabe was sworn in Sunday to a new term as Zimbabwe president and called for dialogue between the country's political parties after a one-man election widely denounced as illegitimate.
   
After the 84-year-old took the oath of office administered by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku at a ceremony at his State House residence, the veteran leader issued an appeal for "unity."
   
"Indeed it is my hope that sooner rather than later, we shall as diverse political parties hold consultations towards such serious dialogue as will minimise our difference and enhance the area of unity and cooperation," Mugabe said in a speech.
   
The rapidly-convened ceremony was staged barely an hour after the electoral commission declared he won a total of 2,150,269 votes against 233,000 for opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who boycotted the election but whose name still appeared on ballot papers.
   
Turnout was announced at 42.37 percent, and 131,481 ballot papers were rejected, giving Mugabe more than 85 percent of the votes cast.
   
The victory declaration was derided as a "joke" by Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change which pulled out of the run-off last weekend after a wave of deadly attacks against its supporters.
   
"This is an unbelievable joke and act of desperation on the part of the regime," the MDC's chief spokesman Nelson Chamisa told AFP.
   
No African heads of state were present for the inauguration, in stark contrast to his previous election victories.
   
Mugabe is Africa's oldest head of state and has ruled the former British colony uninterrupted since independence in 1980.
   
He was expected to fly out of Harare soon after the ceremony, headed for an African Union summit in Egypt where his country's crisis was to feature high on the agenda.
   
Mugabe was assured of a landslide victory after Tsvangirai pulled out of Friday's presidential run-off, saying rising violence against his supporters had left nearly 90 dead and thousands injured.
   
Tsvangirai won the first round of the election on March 29 with 47.9 percent of the vote against 43.2 percent for Mugabe -- just short of an outright majority.
   
Defying international and regional calls for him to postpone the election, Mugabe pushed ahead with the vote anyway, warning against outside interference in his country's affairs and shrugging off Tsvangirai's claims of violence.
   
In final pre-poll rallies, Mugabe said thousands had been killed in other African countries ahead of elections but polls were held regardless. He also indicated he was open to talks with the opposition -- but only after Friday's vote.
   
Tsvangirai remained on the ballot despite announcing he was pulling out a week ago, with electoral commission officials saying it was too late to withdraw.
   
But the opposition leader did not urge supporters to cast ballots for him and even told followers to vote for Mugabe if they felt it was necessary to protect themselves.
   
There were widespread claims of voter intimidation, including residents being forced to polling stations.
   
Many Western governments denounced the vote as a sham, and a growing number of African leaders have criticised Mugabe for insisting on holding a one-candidate election.
   
Although Western observers were barred from covering the election, a number of African monitors were allowed in.
   
The head of the Pan-African parliament mission told a news conference Sunday that the vote was neither free nor fair and fresh polls should be held.
   
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, among the veteran leader's most vocal critics on the continent, called on the African Union to send troops into Zimbabwe and labelled Mugabe "a shame to Africa".
   
South African President Thabo Mbeki, the regionally appointed mediator for Zimbabwe, has worked to seek a negotiated solution in the country but has faced harsh criticism over what many see as his failure to confront Mugabe.
   
Mugabe lavished praise on Mbeki at his swearing-in, hailing him as a statesman for his mediation efforts in Zimbabwe.
   
"Zimbabwe is indebted to his untiring efforts to promote harmony and peace in Zimbabwe," he said.
   
Tsvangirai has previously called for Mbeki to be stripped of his role as mediator.
   
The opposition leader has sent mixed signals over his willingness to negotiate with Mugabe, at times saying he could not hold talks with an illegitimate leader.
   
In weekend newspaper interviews, however, he suggested the possibility of Mugabe remaining as a ceremonial head of state if an agreement on rewriting the constitution could be reached.
 

Date created : 2008-06-30

COMMENT(S)