President Robert Mugabe took the oath of office in Zimbabwe's capital city of Harare on August 22, 2013 after beating his closest rival, former Prime Minister of the coalition government Morgan Tsvangirai for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), in the disputed July 31 presidential election.
Tsangirai boycotted the inauguration ceremony calling it “a robber's party”.
Mugabe, who is 89 years old and has been in power for 33 years, will continue to rule the country for the next five years. Election observer missions from the African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) endorsed Mugabe's victory amid claims of massive electoral fraud coming from the opposition and Western nations led by US and the UK. Botswana is the only African country that called for an independent audit into the election.
Mugabe responded to allegations of rigging by telling critics to “go hang.”
In his inauguration speech in front of 40 heads of state and thousands of his supporters, Mugabe dismissed Western nations “as the vile ones whose moral turpitude we must mourn.”
Zimbabweans and non-Zimbabweans online have been discussing the event on Twitter using the hashtags #inauguration and #zimbabwe.
Trevor Ncube (@TrevorNcube), a Zimbabwean entrepreneur and owner of the South African Mail & Guardian, assessed the mood in Harare:
Just driven around Harare.Apart from crowd at National Sports stadium the mood is subdued.No evidence of inauguration celebration #Zimbabwe
— Trevor Ncube (@TrevorNcube) August 22, 2013
otukile ben (@otukileob) wanted to know Mugabe's secret for being in power for 33 years:
Hw does mugabe do,dis guy ws president b4 i was born nd he's still the president nw,damn
— otukile ben (@otukileob) August 22, 2013
the people (@nowisthetime_13) wondered:
Only God knows how the feeling of every #Zimbabwean will be if it was [Morgan Tsvangirai] @mrtsvangirai #Inauguration today. #ZimElections #ZimVoices
— the people (@nowisthetime_13) August 22, 2013
Sizani Weza (@Sizzle769) questioned the timing of the inauguration:
@tarimaviyo @sharontawuya1 How was all this organised in 24 hours- did they know the outcome of the ConCourt [Constitutional Court] judgement?
— Sizani Weza (@Sizzle76) August 21, 2013
The opposition MDC and Tsvangirai withdrew their election petition following a failed legal challenge at the High Court seeking permission to access all materials used in the elections. In an unexpected turn of events, the judge ordered the arrest of Tsvangirai's lawyers for alleged contempt of court following statements made by Tsvangirai in his Electoral Court application, which questioned the integrity of the judiciary.
Pole Sana (@takawiram) wrote the following about Tsvangirai:
Will #Tsvangirai be watching the ‘robber's party’ aka #inauguration on the big screen with family saying, that guy stole my crown?
— Pole Sana (@takawiram) August 22, 2013
zenzele Ndebele (@zenzele), editor at Radio Dialogue FM, wrote:
Some call it an inauguration, others think this is a farewell party.I will just enjoy the holiday.
— zenzele Ndebele (@zenzele) August 22, 2013
Referring to Mugabe's seventh term in office, Voice of Reason (@DiscipleofLogic) said:
The definition of insanity might just be doing the same thing 7 times and expecting a different result. #Inauguration
— Voice of Reason (@DiscipleofLogic) August 22, 2013
ZimElections2013 (@Zimelections13) reported that people attending the ceremony were treated to chicken from a popular Zimbabwan take-away while Mtarazi (@chamapiwa) wanted to know the source of funds for the food:
@Zimelections13 who is making the order? Govt or Zanu pf? Has the looting started?
— Mtarazi (@chamapiwa) August 21, 2013
All Things Zim (@Zimtweets) tweeted a photo of the free chicken:
Congratulations Cde President #Inauguration #FreeChicken pic.twitter.com/Ap3bCWKaLR
— All Things Zim (@Zimtweets) August 22, 2013
Talking about the same issue, Sekuru Simba (@zimhipster) asked:
Are the “thousands” of heads of state in attendance also being fed greasy fried chicken from Chicken Inn #Mugabe #Inauguration
— Sekuru Simba (@zimhipster) August 22, 2013
Trevor Ncube (@TrevorNcube) advised the opposition MDC:
MDC must go back to being loyal opposition,prepare for next election. In the interim engage,be constructive,No point in sulking #Zimbabwe
— Trevor Ncube (@TrevorNcube) August 22, 2013
Finally, Gareth Bench-Capon (@garethbc) shared a joke making the rounds online about Mugabe rigging family vote for holiday destination:
Nice little zim election joke !!! pic.twitter.com/vUCmqMNTdw
— Gareth Bench-Capon (@garethbc) August 22, 2013