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Opponent Promises No Retaliation Against Mugabe If Elected

July 29, 2013

by Sebastian Mhofu

Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai Monday promised no retribution against the country's long-serving President Robert Mugabe if he wins Wednesday's general election.

Tsvangirai addressed his last campaign rally in Harare ahead of Wednesday's elections. The 61-year-old former opposition leader was confident of victory over Mugabe, his main rival.

“Under my leadership, cast away your bitterness," he said. "Join me in building a new Zimbabwe. Let's show maturity by embracing our erstwhile opponents by walking hand in hand with them as we build a new Zimbabwe. I want President Mugabe to enjoy his retirement in peace and conformity of his homeland.”

Tsvangirai blames Mugabe – who has led Zimbabwe since 1980 – for destroying the southern African nation's economy.

The former union leader also said the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) must ensure the polls are credible. Later Monday, Justice Rita Makarau, ZEC chairperson, told journalists that Wednesday's voting would be legitimate.

"I would say we are now 99 percent prepared for the elections," she said.

Two weeks ago, Zimbabwe's special early voting by police and soldiers became chaotic as it stretched into a third day, one more than permitted by Zimbabwe's new constitution.

That prompted Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to say it has lost faith in the election commission. The MDC said the number of security forces voting early was inflated by the elections officials to rig the count for Mugabe’s Zanu PF.

The High Court of Zimbabwe dismissed an application the MDC filed seeking the nullification of the early vote.

Wednesday elections are expected to end Zimbabwe’s power-sharing government formed by Mugabe and Tsvangirai after the violent and disputed 2008 elections.

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