Mugabe takes oath twice

A frail and visibly tired looking President Robert Mugabe had to uncharacteristically take his oath of office twice after a glitch on the first go.

Mugabe did not have the traditional Bible required when taking the oath of loyalty neither did he raise his right hand as had been requested by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, when he took the oath at the beginning.

Despite that, there was ululation from the terraces, notably from a bay reserved for police officers, because the crowd had not noticed the hitch.

Mugabe retook the oath, but the terraces had become subdued. A poor public address system did not help matters, as he was hardly audible.

Of note was the fact that Mugabe’s inauguration programme had Tsvangirai among the people who would shake Mugabe’s hand after the oath of office, alongside outgoing deputy Premier Arthur Mutambara.

The two were, however, not among the dignitaries whose arrival would be announced.

Tsvangirai did not attend the inauguration, apparently in protest over the contested July 31 polls which he said were stolen by Mugabe and Zanu (PF).

MDC-T spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora, said his party did not take kindly to its president (Tsvangirai) being taken lightly.

“In the first place, we were never invited to that ceremony and never wished we were there because that would be tantamount to blessing a stolen election or a programme borne out of fraud.

“It’s unacceptable and disrespectful of our President to expect him to enter the stadium as an ordinary member of the public and then humiliate him with all sorts of things including asking him to travel to the podium to shake Mugabe’s hand and nothing more,” said Mwonzora.

In a statement, the MDC-T described the inauguration as “the usual Zanu (PF) charade”.

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