Vote my party out of office: Mugabe

Emmerson Mnangagwa

Vote my party out of office: Mugabe

In a slow and rambling address, the 94-year-old Mugabe spoke to reporters about the circumstances of his dramatic removal under military pressure and after a ruling party feud.

As Zimbabwe's hectic politics reached fever pitch, Mnangagwa on Sunday claimed that Mugabe's remarks proved that Chamisa was in an alliance with Mugabe.

There have been reports of intimidation and coercion in the build-up to the vote and state media is biased toward the ZANU-PF, but there is a consensus that the process has been better than before. He indicated, however, that Chamisa was the only viable candidate.

"I can not vote for those who have tormented me", the 94-year-old Mr. Mugabe, slouched behind a pile of microphones, said in a news conference at his home on the outskirts of the capital Harare.

"I was sacked from the party that I founded...with the likes of [former vice president Simon] Muzenda and others. I wish to meet him if he wins". After he was sacked previous year by Mugabe amid a ruling party feud, the military rallied behind him to help push Mugabe out.

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The contest is between Mr Mnangagwa, 75, of the ruling ZANU PF and young politician and pastor, Mr Nelson Chamisa, 40, of the opposition MDC party. Whoever wins, we wish him well ... "And let us accept the verdict".

ZANU-PF, which was previously fiercely loyal to Mr. Mugabe, has ruled since the country's independence from British colonial rule in 1980.

"Today we unlock the potential of our beloved homeland to build a new Zimbabwe for all", he said, repeating his promise of economic revival.

Mugabe said he was forced to resign last November at a time he had already planned to voluntarily step down at Zanu-PF's congress the following month and hand-over power to former defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi. What began with optimism crumbled into repression of the opposition, alleged vote-rigging, violent land seizures from white farmers and years of global sanctions.

The country's founding president, Mr Mugabe was ousted in a coup a year ago after nearly four decades in power.

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Asked whether he stayed long in power at the mercy and support of the Zimbabwean military forces, Mugabe said the country always held regular free and fair elections which he won.

Many Zimbabweans have left the country in search of work in South Africa.

"Zimbabwe could have seen a departure from the old way, and ZEC could have been much more transparent - that would have built public confidence".

Mugabe, who ruled the landlocked southern African country for almost four decades, was forced to resign in November 2017 following an intervention by the army.

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