Defiant Mugabe endorses Chamisa as Zimbabweans vote
By Staff Reporter
Robert Mugabe has ‘endorsed’ the opposition Movement for Democratic Change’s presidential candidate, Nelson Chamisa in today’s crucial Zimbabwean elections.
And voting in Zimbabwe started this morning with winding queues in a historic presidential, parliamentary and local government elections.
Mugabe, the Southern African nation’s former long-term president, said at a press briefing in Harare on Sunday that he can never vote for the party he founded, the ruling ZANU-PF, which is fielding his one-time ally and ‘successor’, President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The 94-year-old disclosed to reporters at his Harare home that 40-year-old Chamisa was the only one remaining after scrutinising all the 23 presidential candidates.
“I cannot vote for the party or those in power who caused me to be in this condition. I cannot vote for them, I can’t,” Mugabe said. “[Chamisa] seems to be doing well at his rallies … I wish to meet him if he wins. Whoever wins, we wish him well … And let us accept the verdict.”
Mugabe said his ouster in November last year was as a coup and charged that the military was stifling democracy, arguing that his own rule was legitimate because he held elections every five years.
“These tanks that roared across the country, whom were they fighting? Who was the enemy? We were fighting ourselves.
“The army has turned against the very people they fought for. I say ‘no’. This is wrong. There should be a big no to guns directing politics,” said Mugabe as his wife, Grace sat next to him.
“Let tomorrow be the voice of the people saying never again, never again will we experience … the army being used to thrust one person into power.”
Mugabe denied accusations that he had ever used force to suppress dissent.
Mugabe also denied assertions he had assisted the MDC’s campaign, saying he had never met Chamisa.
“The two women (Joyce Mujuru and Thokozile Khupe) seem to offer nothing,” said Mugabe as the people laughed. “The only one remaining is Chamisa.”
On allegations that he wants his wife to be ‘President’, Mugabe replied: “We should be left free as a family. I do not accept the denunciation and villification of my wife that is going on every day. I do not understand why … Leave, leave, leave my wife alone. I want Grace to remain my Grace.”
At Glen Noral High School polling station in Glen Noral constituency and Lord Malvern High School polling station in Hartfield constituency (in the picture) voters had formed long queues to cast their votes.
This is the first elections since the ousting of Zimbabwe’s founding president Robert Mugabe in November last year.
Mnangagwa and Chamisa are front runners in an election viewed to be peaceful and transparent in as many years.
More updates coming.