, LILONGWE, Aug 18 – Robert Mugabe will be sworn in on Thursday, beginning a fresh five-year mandate as Zimbabwe’s president following a disputed election, his spokesman said Sunday.
“It is now this Thursday,” George Charamba told AFP on the sidelines of a summit of southern African leaders in Malawi.
On Friday Mugabe’s main challenger, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, withdrew a legal challenge to the election result, claiming the courts would not be fair.
That removed the last hurdle to 89-year-old Mugabe’s inauguration for a seventh term.
Mugabe, Africa’s oldest leader, first took the reins of a newly independent Zimbabwe in 1980 as prime minister. He became president following a constitutional amendment in 1987.
Southern African leaders attending the summit had earlier endorsed the result of the election that extended his 33-year rule, congratulating him for holding peaceful elections.
Asked whether regional leaders would attend the swearing-in, Charamba said that “everybody will be invited”.