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Mugabe Tells African Peers To Examine Own Records

Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe is officially sworn in as president after a sharply criticized runoff vote that was boycotted by his only rival, Morgan Tsvangirai.

In Tuesday's closed-door meeting, "Mugabe let people know he is not the worst-elected head of state," Wade said.

When President Umaru Yar'Adua of Nigeria confronted Mugabe over the Zimbabwe election, Mugabe told the leader that Nigeria's own election was dirtier, Wade said.

Mugabe had come to the summit promising to challenge his critics on their own records. The warning increased African leaders' reluctance to interfere in the affairs of another African nation, an African diplomat said.

"It created a certain unease . . . with respect to the sovereignty of their own countries," said the diplomat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because his president was the only official from his country authorized to speak to the media.

In the end, Nigeria and Zimbabwe's neighbor Botswana were among the nations pushing hardest for action against Mugabe's government, according to diplomats.

In a statement to the African leaders, Vice President Mompati Merafhe of Botswana said, "The outcome of these elections does not confer legitimacy on the government of President Mugabe."

One of Mugabe's most effective opponents, Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia, suffered a stroke and was rushed to a hospital shortly after he arrived in Sharm el-Sheikh. He did not attend the summit.

In Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change rejected proposals for dialogue or power-sharing.

Friday's "sham" election "completely exterminated any prospects of a negotiated settlement," the party said in a statement Tuesday.

"It is now the firm view of the MDC that those who claim they have got a mandate to govern should govern."

The top U.S. envoy for Africa, Jendayi Frazier, said Monday that the Bush administration opposes a power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe in part because it believes Mugabe has lost the moral authority to govern.

The United States imposed new sanctions on Zimbabwe after the election. Many other Western nations condemned the vote.

The United States has pushed for U.N. sanctions against Mugabe's government as well. China, a member of the U.N. Security Council, made that prospect seem unlikely Tuesday when it said that Zimbabwe's problems should be left to its people to solve.


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