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Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, Africa's oldest leader at 89, was sworn in on Thursday for a new five-year term in the face of criticism from opponents and the West that the election he won in July was deeply flawed.
Mugabe, who has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980, has told critics of his re-election to “go hang” and has vowed to press ahead with nationalist policies forcing foreign firms to turn over majority stakes to black Zimbabweans.
Mugabe’s inauguration comes only days after a court validated the outcome of an election rejected by his rival Morgan Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) slammed the vote and said it would boycott the inauguration ceremony at a stadium in Harare.
The AU backed the election result, saying problems in the election were not serious enough to declare the process invalid.
Other observers and Western nations, however, cited severe flaws, in areas such as voter registration.
Mugabe has led the southern African country since 1987, when he was appointed prime minister. - Reuters and Sapa-dpa