President Robert Mugabe says he will quit after 33 years in power if he loses Wednesday’s presidential election to outgoing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Addressing a news conference at State House Tuesday afternoon, President Mugabe said he will accept the outcome of the poll.
The president said he is prepared to hand-over power to his main rival Mr. Tsvangirai or any other candidate who emerges victorious in the watershed elections.
"'If you lose you must surrender to those who would have won. We will do so to comply with the rules," he said.
Despite statements by some securocrats that they will not salute a leader without any liberation war credentials – in apparent reference to Mr. Tsvangirai, President Mugabe said the military should abide by their code of conduct which requires them to respect the constitution.
The prime minister on Monday said Mr. Mugabe should not be afraid to go into retirement because he will not seek revenge.
The president called on Zimbabweans to vote peacefully and urged those who would have lost in the elections not to resort to violence and street protests but to seek redress in the courts.
He also refuted claims by the MDC-T that his party is working in cahoots with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to rig the elections.
Meanwhile, Reuters news agency reports that heavily armed riot police have been deployed in potential election flashpoints on the eve of the poll showdown between President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai that remains too close to call.
State radio said thousands of officers had been sent to the central Midlands province, while trucks of police carrying automatic rifles and grenade launchers patrolled in the restive Harare townships of Highfield and Mbare.
The run-down districts of the capital are hotbeds of support for Mr. Tsvangirai and were at the center of several weeks of post-election violence in 2008, in which 200 people linked to the MDC were killed.
This election brings the curtain down on four years of a fractious unity government that was characterised by disagreements, threats from the security and policy discord.