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Mugabe speaks out: ‘I won’t vote for Zanu-PF. And it was a coup’

Harare ― Zimbabwe’s former president Robert Mugabe has said he will not vote for his successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, in Monday’s general election. Instead, he endorsed the opposition candidate Nelson Chamisa.

Addressing a press conference at his blue roof mansion in the plush Harare suburb of Borrowdale, Mugabe said people should respect the outcome of tomorrow’s election.

He said he hopes to meet Chamisa if he wins.

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.

He said he he had talked to Sekeramayi, who remains a senior Zanu-PF member, who had agreed to take over.

He dismissed claims that he wanted to hand over power to his wife, Grace as “utter nonsense.

“I must say clearly, I can’t vote for people who have tormented me. I can’t. I will choose among the 22 [other candidates],” Mugabe said.

However, he added that he was not going to vote for his former deputy, Joice Mujuru, who was sacked from government in 2014, as she does not have support. Mugabe said: “What is there, is just Chamisa.”

The ex-ZANU-PF leader said he was removed through a coup.

“Our neighbours are fooled to believe that it was not a coup d’etat. Nonsense, it was a coup d’etat,” said Mugabe.

He said Mnangagwa had been a hard worker during his time in government, but he was not always truthful.

Mugabe said Zimbabwe was no longer democratic and the country was under a military regime. “We used to say politics directs the gun but now it’s the gun directing politics. No! I say no, no, no.”

The former president said there “should be a big no to guns” in tomorrow’s poll and “let the people “say never again should the army be used to thrust one man into power”.

He said he had never used the army to stay in power.

Mugabe said he was not living freely and people who come to visit him, even his relatives, are harassed.

He said people who are allowed to pass through his gate, they are later asked about their discussions with him.

“I was sacked from the party that I founded…with the likes of [former vice president Simon] Muzenda and others. I was regarded now as an enemy but if the coup was to protect me how come I’m treated now as an opponent,” he said.

Mugabe described tomorrow’s voting day as “the greatest event” which he hopes will bring back “constitutionalism from a military government”.

He said he has not met Chamisa, but hopes to meet him if he wins.

“I have not met this man. I met his late leader Tsvangirai. Yes, we worked together under the government of national unity. His and his alliance partners, I have not met. I wish to meet him, if he wins,” he said.

Mugabe said he was concerned by continued attacks on his wife in the state media, and he thinks that those behind it think by attacking her they will also be attacking him.

He said he also hopes that all the benefits due to him are paid.

Mugabe said he is entitled to a pension of $467 000 and two houses, but that his Borrowdale mansion — nicknamed Blue Roof — was in the process of collapsing.

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Kudzai Mashininga
Kudzai Mashininga

Mashininga is an experienced Zimbabwean journalist.

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