Bitter Mugabe refuses to back successor in poll


Zimbabwe’s former leader Robert Mugabe has refused to back his successor just a day before the country’s historic Monday vote.

Mr Mugabe addressed the nation for the first time since stepping down in November and declared that “I will not vote for those who have illegally taken power.”

Referring to current president Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took office with the military’s support, the 94-year-old told reporters on Sunday: “I cannot vote for those who have tormented me.”

Zimbabwe's former leader Robert Mugabe pictured with his wife, Grace
Image: Grace Mugabe had been poised to take over from her husband before he was ousted

Mr Mugabe gave a slow and rambling address that at times betrayed his lingering bitterness and anger over his dramatic removal under military pressure and amid a ruling party feud last year.

He blamed “evil and malicious characters” for his resignation, which was met with a joyous outpouring by thousands of people in the capital, Harare, and elsewhere.

imbabwe's President Robert Mugabe delivers a speech during a meeting of his party's youth league where he hinted at a cabinet reshuffle, on October 7, 2017, in Harare
Image: The former president led the country for 37 turbulent years

“I was a fool to have him next to me,” he said of Mr Mnangagwa, whom he accused of conniving with the military chief to pull off a “coup”.

Mr Mugabe said he resigned to avoid “bloodshed” and defended his wife, Grace, who had appeared to be positioning herself to take over.

Emmerson Mnangagwa
Image: Mr Mugabe accused his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa of conspiring against him

He swore he would not support the ruling party he controlled for decades at the polls, saying: “I cannot vote for ZANU-PF”.

Mr Mnangagawa faces a 40-year-old lawyer and pastor Nelson Chamisa in the battle for power.

Mugabe has backed a new political party that is part of the coalition supporting Chamisa.

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Nelson Chamisa gestures during the launch of his party's election manifesto in Harare, Zimbabwe, June 7, 2018. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Image: The incumbent faces 40-year-old lawyer and pastor Nelson Chamisa in the battle for power

“He seems to be doing well at his rallies … I wish to meet him if he wins,” Mugabe said of the lawyer.

Mr Mugabe led the country for 37 years after independence from white minority rule in 1980.

Overtime, repression of the opposition, alleged vote-rigging, violent land seizures from white farmers arose.

More from Robert Mugabe

People celebrate in the streets after the resignation of Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe
Image: People celebrate in the streets after the resignation of Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe

Many hope the sanctions imposed as a result of those actions will be lifted off the back of credible elections tomorrow.

Mr Mugabe, who appeared to have allowed his hair to go grey, added: “Whoever wins, we wish him well … And let us accept the verdict.”

From – SkyNews