Zimbabwe's Mugabe to be sworn in Thursday: aide

Zimbabwe's newly re-elected President Robert Mugabe (R) arrives at the Bingu International Conference Centre for the opening session of the 33rd SADC Heads of State and Government Summit in Lilongwe, on August 17, 2013. PHOTO - AFP/AMOS GUMULIRA

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".


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