Zimbabwe Election 2018: Mugabe emerges, rejects Mnangagwa in election
Zimbabwe's Mugabe emerges, rejects Mnangagwa in election
Zimbabwe's former leader Robert Mugabe today emerged to address the nation for the first time since stepping down in November and just hours before tomorrow's historic election, declaring that "I will not vote for those who have illegally taken power."
"I cannot vote for those who have tormented me," Mugabe said, in a reference to Mnangagwa, who took office with the military's support. "I cannot vote for ZANU-PF," the ruling party he long controlled.
Mugabe, who has backed a new political party that is part of a coalition supporting Chamisa, said of him: "He seems to be doing well at his rallies ... I wish to meet him if he wins."
And Mugabe added: "Whoever wins, we wish him well ... And let us accept the verdict." Many in Zimbabwe knew no other leader but Mugabe, who led the country for 37 years and since independence from white minority rule in 1980.
What began with optimism crumbled into repression, alleged vote-rigging, intimidation of the opposition, violent land seizures from white farmers and years of international sanctions.
"I have during all this time liked our return to conditionality, our return to legality, an environment in which our people are free," Mugabe told reporters.
In a breathtaking statement, he asserted that his stay in power had been free from meddling: "It was not the army that ensured I remained in power."
He blamed "evil and malicious characters" for his removal from office, which was met with a joyous outpouring in the capital, Harare, by thousands.
He said he resigned to avoid "bloodshed" and defended his wife, Grace, who just months ago appeared to be positioning herself for the presidency: "Leave, leave, leave my wife alone."
While Mugabe, who has largely remained quiet in his Harare home since leaving power, spoke largely of the past, Zimbabweans are already impatient for the future — and tomorrow's vote.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)