“I, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, do swear that I will truly serve in the office of president, so help me God.” And with those words, Zimbabwe began another five year stretch with Robert Mugabe as leader.

In being sworn in for his sixth term as president, Mugabe again showed that he is as uncaring about international opinion or the plight of his own countrymen as at any time during his 28 year reign. According to AFP:

The rapidly-convened (swearing in) ceremony was staged barely an hour after the electoral commission declared he won a total of 2,150,269 votes against 233,000 for opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who boycotted the election but whose name still appeared on ballot papers.

Turnout was announced at 42.37 percent, and 131,481 ballot papers were rejected, giving Mugabe more than 85 percent of the votes cast.

In an uncharacteristically sharp rebuke, hours after results were announced observers from the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) said the election “did not represent the will of the people.”

If Zimbabwean citizens, democracy activists, international leaders or neighbouring African nations held any hope that the election might be a turning point for Zimbabwe, Mugabe’s chief political opponent made the uncomfortable but obvious point that the president isn’t about to relinquish power.

“[Mugabe] wants to keep power for himself until he drops dead,” said Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change “I have now come to the conclusion that he wants to die in office — and that when he dies, he wants ZANU-PF to continue in power.”

Welcome to nowhere. Today, overhead, a lone jet went through its paces in preparation for Mugabe’s inevitable “crowning”. That’s what we’ve been reduced to. Just enough fuel and a single pilot for a fly past. In spite of this, Mugabe will ride into Cairo this coming week and whip the rest of Africa’s spineless leaders into shape. Pathetic. Over this desperate weekend I watched a documentary that opened my eyes to the Bush administration’s rampant corruption in the awarding of contracts to Halliburton et al for the logistics behind their war in Iraq. “Oh God”, I thought. “Where in the world is there integrity?” — Brenda Burrell, Kubatana.net

Africans must deny Mugabe his moment of glory in Egypt. Robert Mugabe is moving at lightning speed to ensure that his fraudulent re-election as Zimbabwe’s president wins the crucial endorsement of fellow African leaders. Hence the decision to race from the coronation ceremony in Zimbabwe – even before the election results are declared — to the African Union summit in Egypt, where the old gambler intends to bounce Africa’s leaders into accepting his victory. — Independent UK

Africa needs to act. The abhorrent spectacle of Robert Mugabe being inaugurated as president after Friday’s sham election has prompted widespread revulsion, nowhere more so than in Africa itself … Kenya’s prime minister, Raila Odinga, has called for African Union troops to be deployed to Zimbabwe, saying that the election was “a fake victory and we do not recognise it”. Nelson Mandela’s attack last week on Zimbabwe’s “tragic failure of leadership” was an especially welcome intervention, as were the comments yesterday by Archbishop Desmond Tutu … who called on African leaders to tell Mr Mugabe that “you are unwelcome any longer, you are illegitimate, and we will not recognise your administration in any shape or form”. — Telegraph

Beatings, intimidation and murder do their job. The electoral commission declared that Mugabe almost doubled the number of votes he received in the first round of elections against Tsvangirai three months ago. The shift was particularly dramatic in provinces where the state-orchestrated violence had been focused. In Manicaland, the number of votes declared for Mugabe more than doubled from 141,592 in the first round to 323,284 on Friday. In Harare, where a vicious campaign of beatings, abductions, rapes and house destruction hit townships such as Epworth in recent weeks, Mugabe again more than doubled the size of his vote. — Chris McGreal, Guardian