Zimbabwe opposition boycotts Mugabe's parliament ceremony

Story highlights

  • Main opposition snubs parliament's opening ceremony by President Robert Mugabe
  • Mugabe appeals for the West to lift sanctions on him
  • Opposition says attending the ceremony would have legitimized a stolen election
Zimbabwe's main opposition on Tuesday boycotted the ceremony for a new parliamentary session, during which President Robert Mugabe appealed to the West to lift sanctions on him and his Zanu PF party leadership.
"With the elections now behind us, we look forward to meaningful and effective collaboration with all progressive members of the global community," Mugabe said.
"We indeed stand ready to work with those, who, before were at odds with us; our detractors. On the other hand, Zimbabwe will continue to demand the immediate and unconditional removal of illegal sanctions imposed by some Western arrogant countries," said the 89-year-old leader.
His 33-year rule of Zimbabwe was extended by another five years when he won the July 31 elections. Former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change regards those elections as a "monumental fraud."
"We would have recognized a stolen election had we attended the ceremony," said Douglas Mwonzora, the spokesperson for the MDC said of parliamentary opening. He said the party's MDC would attend usual parliamentary sessions.
Last week, Mugabe appointed a new cabinet that retained a controversial policy of seizing majority stake of foreign-owned firms and giving them to black natives of Zimbabwe.
He said the program will be "reviewed and strengthened," adding Zimbabwe's economic recovery would be anchored on financial assistance from countries such as India and China.