, HARARE August 22- Veteran Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe hit out at “vile” Western critics as he was sworn in for another five-year term Thursday in a stadium packed with jubilant supporters.
Festooned in a sash, garland and medals, the 89 year old dismissed accusations the July 31 election that returned him to power was rigged and vowed to rejuvenate the foreign-dominated banking and mining sectors.
Mugabe’s 33 year rule since Zimbabwe’s independence has been marked by a drive to transfer foreign owned and white owned assets, including farms, to blacks.
“I promise you better conditions,” he told the 60,000 capacity crowd of supporters at a stadium in Harare.
“The mining sector will be the centrepiece of our economic recovery and growth. It should generate growth spurts across sector, reignite that economic miracle which must now happen.”
Mugabe’s inner circle has faced decades of international sanctions over rights abuses, and the veteran leader said he expected the punitive measures to continue.
“Most likely we shall remain under these sanctions for much longer.”
“We continue to look East,” Mugabe said lampooning, Western countries which have called into question the legitimacy of his election victory.
“We dismiss them as the vile ones whose moral turpitude we must mourn,” he said venting against Britain, Australia, Canada and the United States.
Former colonial power Britain called Thursday for an “independent investigation” into the conduct of the election, which Mugabe officially won by a landslide.
Unlike previous low key investitures, Thursday’s event replete with banners, flags and chants carried strong echoes of Mugabe’s inauguration as prime minister of a newly independent Zimbabwe in 1980.
A no show by many leaders from neighbouring countries including President Jacob Zuma of regional power-broker South Africa did little to dampen enthusiasm.