Zimbabwe’s president and his rival are engaged in verbal warfare ahead of their first post-Mugabe election. which the MDC says will be fraudulent.
Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa on Wednesday said Zimbabwe’s presidential election was set to be fraudulent and accused electoral authorities of bias, but said his MDC party would not boycott the vote.
The vote on July 30 is “on path to be determined as a fraud election,” he said, adding that the Zimbabwe Election Commission was “biased and has lost the confidence of the people of Zimbabwe.”
He said that his party would not boycott the vote as it would still win against President Emmerson Mnangagwa and ruling ZANU-PF party.
It is the country’s first election since Robert Mugabe was ousted in November.
“We can’t boycott our mandate, winners don’t boycott. Victory is inevitable,” Chamisa said.
“Mnangagwa knows defeat is staring in his face… We are going to turn out in our numbers (to vote) and defeat them.”
Elections during Mugabe’s 37-year reign were regularly marred by fraud and violence, but Mnangagwa has vowed to hold a peaceful and fair vote.
Mnangagwa, a ZANU-PF ruling party loyalist and former ally of Mugabe, has invited international observers – including previously-banned European Union and Commonwealth teams – to assess polls.
It was reported earlier that Mnangagwa said that if the MDC presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa ‘chooses chaos, law and order will prevail.’
The Zimbabwean President said on Tuesday said that if the country’s main opposition MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa chooses chaos, the law would prevail.
Mnangagwa told Zanu-PF supporters at a campaign rally in Mhondoro that the law would not hesitate stretching to anyone caught on the wrong side, particularly in this election.
“I hear he has changed his heart and wants peace. If he does that, we welcome him. He is our son, we allow him to campaign anywhere across the country seeking your vote,” the Zanu-PF presidential candidate said.
“But if he chooses chaos, law and order will prevail. If you are peaceful, we will not touch you.”
Zimbabwe’s first election since the removal of ex-President Robert Mugabe, which will take place this coming weekend, appears to be an endless source of conflict and controversy so far. It was also reported earlier that the United Nations says there has been ‘use of disparaging language against female political candidates’ leading up to the elections.
Voter intimidation, threats of violence and coercion, including people being forced to attend political rallies, are being increasingly reported ahead of Zimbabwe’s elections on July 30, especially in rural areas, the UN human rights office says.
“There has also been the worrying use of disparaging language against female political candidates,” UN human rights spokeswoman Elizabeth Throssell told a news briefing in Geneva on Tuesday.
In 2008, Tsvangirai pulled out of the presidential run-off vote after attacks orchestrated by the state and ZANU-PF claimed the lives of at least 200 of his supporters.
Monday’s election comes after Mugabe, now 94, was forced to resign following a brief military takeover in November that ended his 37 years in power.
Mnangagwa’s critics say that he relies on the support of the military and that the same corrupt elite from Mugabe’s era still have their grip on power.
Both candidates have campaigned on a pledge to revive the economy, which was shattered under Mugabe’s autocratic rule as the seizure of white-owned farms wrecked the agriculture sector and triggered hyperinflation and economic collapse.
Previously solid health and education services collapsed, millions fled abroad to seek work and poverty rates are still climbing.
The United Nations on Tuesday warned of growing concern over alleged intimidation and threats of violence in the runup to the historic election.
“We call on the authorities – and political parties and their supporters – to ensure that the elections are not marred by such acts,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) said in a statement.