Mugabe promises his sincerity

"When I say, I am committed I mean it. When I say I want to work with you sincerely and honestly, I mean it. I want to believe when my colleagues say the same, I should believe it," he said shortly after inaugurating the cabinet.

"Let’s know each other more. When we get to know each other, we start feeling for each other, having faith in each other having confidence among ourselves," he said.

"The people will expect a lot from us. Let’s never let them down. It should never be forgotten that the suffering of our people is our suffering. Our failure hurts them and our success yields benefits to them,’ he stated.

Mugabe, 84, who has been in office since independence from Britain in 1980, was speaking of a national unity government headed by long-time foe Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"Today has proved that in spite of all the quarrels we are one people. We have one goal, one destiny," Mugabe said.

Mugabe’s seeming conciliatory remarks came after security agents arrested a top aide to Prime Minister Tsvangirai.

Roy Bennett, a white farmer who became treasurer of Tsvangirai’s MDC and was designated deputy agriculture minister in the new government, was arrested at a Harare airport, the party said.

He returned just last month from three years of self-imposed exile in South Africa where he had fled to escape charges of plotting to kill Mugabe.

His arrest "undermines confidence in the all-inclusive government," Innocent Gonese, MDC’s chief whip in parliament, told AFP.