President Mugabe sworn in

The 89-year-old has been inaugurated, starting the seventh term of his 33-year rule as leader of Zimbabwe.

The 89-year-old Robert Mugabe has been inaugurated, starting the seventh term of his 33-year rule as leader of Zimbabwe. Picture: AFP

HARARE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has been sworn in for his seventh consecutive term in office at a glittering inauguration ceremony on Thursday.

The inauguration day was declared a public holiday and free transport was provided for people across the nation to travel to Harare.

His losing opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), maintains the polls were rigged and has refused to attend.

Mugabe, leader of Zanu-PF, arrived at the National Sports Stadium shortly after 11am.

The crowd erupted into cheers, shouts and dancing as Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku put the green sash of office over the president's head.

The 89-year-old leader then swore to be faithful to Zimbabwe and to obey and uphold the nation's constitution.

Chidyausiku is the same judge who dismissed Tsvangirai's election challenge in the Constitutional Court earlier this week.

Smiling dignitaries looked on, including the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo Joseph Kabila.

Around 30 former and current heads of state were invited to the event, including the former presidents of Botswana, Namibia and Tanzania.