Accessibility links

Mugabe Rallies Supporters in Last Campaign Meeting Ahead of Polls

President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace, at the National Sports Stadium Sunday.

President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace, at the National Sports Stadium Sunday.

President Robert Mugabe addressed his last campaign rally at the National Sports Stadium in Harare Sunday with a long winding speech on the history of Zimbabwe, telling supporters to go out in their numbers to support his party during Wednesday’s ballot.

Mugabe said people should use Wednesday’s vote to reject Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party saying it was formed to reverse the gains of the liberation struggle. He said he will suffer a heart attack if the people of Harare abandoned him in favour of Tsvangirai.

“Harare, Bulawayo, have you put behind you the 2008 mistake? I will suffer a heart attack if the people of Harare vote the MDC-T again, which has councillors who have terrorized residents by poor service delivery, corruption and unfairly repossessing residential stands of those who fail to pay rates,” said Mugabe. “If your stand has been taken away, come back to the party that has your wishes and dreams at heart.”

Mugabe's last campaign rally was not as well attended as his previous meetings around the country. Some supporters who tried to leave before he finished speaking were stopped by the police.

The president described his main rival in Wednesday’s vote, Morgan Tsvangirai, as “an irresponsible cry baby”, warning the MDC leader he faces arrest if he announces next week’s election results prematurely.

He said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is the country’s electoral body and should announce the results.

“What kind of madness is that? I have never heard such a statement coming from a Prime Minister, even in the whole of Africa. Who gave you that right Mr Tsvangirai when we have an electoral body that is mandated to do that? I can warn you in advance that if you break the law, you will be arrested. He who breaks the law will be arrested. We will arrest you Tsvangirai,” said Mugabe.

The Zanu PF leader also said he was concerned by Tsvangirai’s attack Friday on African Union Commission chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, after her remarks that the continental body was happy with preparations on the ground for the crucial election.

President Mugabe also took time to respond to questions from local and international journalists after the rally. He said if he wins next week, it will not be up to him but Europe’s decision as to whether they want to quickly restore relations or not, saying Harare is ready to work with them.

He said problems between Harare and Europe in particular were stoked by former Prime Minister Tony Blair whom he said was against his agrarian reforms and took the message to the European Union that there was no democracy in Zimbabwe, adding Mugabe was abusing people’s rights and not respecting the rule of law, charges he has and continues to deny.

“It is the British who created the MDC, it is them who created Tsvangirai as a political figure and that is why he never criticises the British despite their continued desire to loot the country’s resources,” he Mugabe.

Zimbabweans go to the polls Wednesday to choose a new leadership to replace the shaky coalition government that saw rivals Tsvangirai and Mugabe coming together following the disputed 2008 election.