Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was sworn in on Thursday for a new five-year term in the face of criticism from opponents and the West that his re-election in a July vote was not credible.
The ceremony had been delayed by a court petition filed by his main rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, over allegations of widespread electoral fraud.
The MDC said the July 31 polling was rigged. However, on Tuesday, the constitutional court dismissed a challenge from the opposition party.
Outgoing Prime Minister Tsvangirai said he had no plans to attend Thursday\’s inauguration. A Tsvangirai spokesman said the election was "stolen" and the prime minister could not attend a party hosted by "robbers."
Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since the country won independence in 1980.
Mugabe won with 61% of the presidential vote against 34% for Tsvangirai on 31 July.
His ZANU-PF party and the MDC previously were the main parties in a power-sharing government formed under SADC pressure after the disputed and violent 2008 elections.
Meanwhile, the US said recently that sanctions imposed on Mugabe and some 119 other Zimbabwean individuals would remain in place until there were further political reforms.
Some 40 heads of state and government have been invited to attend the high-profile inauguration ceremony.
Once inaugurated, Mugabe will serve another five-year term. Under the new constitution approved in a referendum earlier this year he will be able to serve another term after this.
Mugabe served as Zimbabwe\’s first post-independence prime minister between 1980 and 1987, and has held office as president ever since.