Mugabe thanks Zuma & Mbeki

At his inauguration Mugabe said South Africa was a helpful mediator in Zim.

FILE: Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe delivers a speech at the National Heroes Acre in Harare on 12 August 2013 during Heroes Day celebrations. Picture: Jekesai Njikizana/AFP

HARARE/JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has thanked South Africa for the mediation role it has played in his country.

The Zanu-PF leader was sworn in for a seventh term as leader of the troubled nation on Thursday at Harare's giant National Sports Stadium.

The 89-year-old says the political facilitation was a trying task but statesman Thabo Mbeki and President Jacob Zuma bore it with "amazing patience and perseverance," adding, "I'm sure today is a happy day for both of them."

He also says he is sure "today is a happy day" for the various members of the South African Development Community (Sadc), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern (Comesa) and the African Union (AU).

In his speech Mugabe also lashed out at homosexuality, calling it "filthy" and slammed western critics of the elections in Zimbabwe as being "vile" people.

He also spoke about the violence in the Middle East saying smaller nations like Egypt are being wrecked by high-handed powers.

"The current western policy of sponsoring conflict in the Middle East must be condemned, as the desperate situation in Syria, Egypt and other countries has shown."

Thousands of his supporters have been celebrating throughout the day, which was declared a public holiday while free transport was provided from all corners of the nation.

The day was a sweet moment of victory for Mugabe after five fraught years of power sharing with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)'s Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister, and he smiled and paused before taking his oath of office.

Only dishonest western countries opposed his win, he told thousands of people gathered at the stadium.

He said Tsvangirai was a "bad loser" for disputing his election win in a court challenge that was thrown out earlier this week.

But in the same speech he said he owed nothing but praise and respect to Tsvangirai and the leaders of a smaller MDC faction for working with him to draw up a new constitution.