Mugabe's Inauguration Resembles Coronation
Mar. 30, 1996
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) _ Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was sworn in Saturday for a third term, carrying the spear, ax and leopardskin that are the traditional royal regalia of his people.
Mugabe won re-election two weeks ago in a race that was boycotted by the opposition. He has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980, when the country formerly known as Rhodesia won independence from British colonial rule.
Saturday's ceremony had many of the emblems of a coronation in Zimbabwe's majority Shona group, but the crowd assembled to watch it failed to fill a sports stadium _ mirroring the voter apathy demonstrated in the election.
Only 32 percent of Zimbabwe's 4.9 million registered voters cast ballots, down from 54 percent in the 1990 presidential race. The election gives Mugabe another six-year term.
Mugabe has conceded that the turnout showed disenchantment in both rural areas, where his support is traditionally strongest, and in towns and cities.
Zimbabwe's unemployment has risen to 40 percent and inflation to 30 percent, amid allegations of corruption among the ruling elite.
The government acknowledged this week that it had failed to honor goals set by the International Monetary Fund to reduce inflation to 18 percent and cut state spending.