ROBERT Mugabe has endorsed MDC’s Nelson Chamisa after describing the ruling ZANU-PF undemocratic.
Mugabe, who was forced to resign last year in November after the army intervened and ushered in Emmerson Manawa, said he could not work with those who have tormented him.
He charged that although President Emmerson Mnagagwa was a “very, very good worker”, he was not quite honest adding that “I was a fool to have him next to me because he connived with General Constantine Chiwenga to oust me.”
“I am talking to you on the eve of the day I have longed for. People must vote freely,” he said from his home in Harare during a press conference broadcast live by SABC. “We pray tomorrow [today] brings us good news. I am sure the good Lord will help us to bring a better day for Zimbabwe tomorrow. I hope the choice of voting tomorrow will throw, thrust away the military government and bring us back to constitutionality. Let tomorrow be the voice of the people to say never again shall we experience a period where the army is used to thrust one person into power. I must say clearly, I cannot vote for those who have tormented me. I can’t. I can’t vote for ZANU-PF. I can’t vote for a party or those in power who are the people that have brought me to this situation. I can’t vote for them…. So it is MDC, mai [Joyce] Mujuru and 22 others. I will make my mind. I have said the two women [contesting] don’t offer too much…. And so, it’s only Chamisa…. I can’t vote for those who have caused me to be in this condition.”
An animated former president said he resigned to avoid conflict after the army staged a coup.
“Our neighbours are being fooled into believing that all is well; that it was not a coup d’état. Nonsense! It was a thorough coup d’état. You don’t roll down the tanks, bring your army and units deployed if not a coup d’état, why do you do that? Who is attacking you? You are attacking yourself…demonstrating to people that you have taken power,” he said. “We used to say politics direct guns. But we are using guns now. Our guns are now directing our politics. No, no. I say no, no, no. Let the people tomorrow decide. There should be a big no to guns directing politics. Let tomorrow be the voice of the people to say we shall never again experience the situation where the gun is directing politics.”
Mugabe called for the return to constitutionality.
“We must have a democratic constitution. That’s what we fought for,” he said. “The people, we always say the people, the people, the people. The people’s freedom first and foremost. These are the things that we always cried for when we were waging our struggle for the freedom of Zimbabwe and we had that freedom, we had those tenets after 1980. The people’s freedom to speak, organise themselves and to belong to any party of their choice, to go about freely in their country, to feel free that they can visit each other, families can unite with other families, forming self-help organisations but the people are now terribly frightened. Now we can’t come to see you. Others say how can we come to see you when you are afraid. How can we have a country like that? And this is being done by people we were with in the struggle. A number of people are dying now… are being killed…. I don’t know if there will be an investigation…. This is the greatest damage we have to our history. It is the greatest injustice.”
Mugabe said he now wished the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Nelson Chamisa, well in today’s vote.
“He seems to be doing well, and if he is elected, I wish him well,” he said. “I have not met this man Nelson Chamisa. I met his late leader [Morgan] Tsvangirai. Yes, we worked together with Tsvangirai in that government of national unity. Nelson Chamisa, I have not met him, definitely, no. I wish to meet him if he wins.”
Asked if he’d vote for a woman or man, Mugabe responded: “There are two women who are candidates. I have not seen their rallies. Mai Mujuru was with me and she showed some ambition and then the people thought, no she… I suppose she was no longer suitable…. It was our political processes in ZANU-PF that got rid of her but I couldn’t vote for either because they don’t seem to have any support from the people. So when you look at the other candidates, there’s only Chamisa.”
On why he condemned the army now while he depended on it to remain in power for 37 years, Mugabe said, “during my era, it was not the army that ensured I remained in power. We had elections every five years and I was defeated one time but Tsvangirai did not receive enough votes to get an outright win. So the army didn’t come to prop me in 2008. We lost the elections but Tsvangirai did not get enough votes. He needed 50 per cent plus…. That’s why we had government of national unity, isn’t it?”
On his view of President Mnangagwa, he said, “Well, he is a good worker. A very, very good worker but it is not always that he told me the truth. In some cases, I did not believe what he told me…. I got to know that my man was not quite honest… But I worked with him. We did some good things with him. I also did not know that he opposed me, that he was vying for my position until quite late. And now, there you are, I was a fool to have him next to me because he then connived with [General] Chiwenga to oust me.”
On his wife, Mugabe said, “I don’t like the vilification of my wife that is going on every day. An attack on Grace, is an attack on me. Leave, leave my wife alone. I want Grace to remain my Grace.”