Zimbabweans React to Robert Mugabe's Surprise Press Conference
On the day before Zimbabwe's election, the ousted former leader announced that he will not vote for his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Robert Mugabe announced, in a surprise press conference on Sunday, that he would not be voting for his successor, and the current leader of the party he founded, Emmerson Mnangagwa in tomorrow's election.
"I cannot vote for those who tormented me," he said. "I will make my choice among the other 22 [candidates]."
The 94-year-old ousted leader expressed support for Mnangagwa's main rival, Nelson Chamisa, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)—Zanu-PF's main opposition party—instead, referring to him as "the only viable candidate." During the address, he also addresses rumors that he planned to have his wife, Grace Mugabe take over, calling them "utter nonsense."
Mugabe said that he hoped to see democratic processes fully restored in the country. "I hope the choice of voting tomorrow will throw, thrust away the military government and bring us back to constitutionality," said Mugabe later in the press conference.
"Let tomorrow be the voice of the people to say never again shall we experience a period where the army is used to thrust one person into power," he added.
The irony of such sentiments coming from Mugabe—who was in office for 37 long years—is not lost on Zimbabwean's who've been responding to the his statements on social media all morning.
Robert Mugabe lamenting a state that "harasses people and a system that ceases to be that of freedom, democratic an… https://t.co/JEeFtrIaxe— Scapegoat (@Scapegoat) 1532861965.0
Mugabe giving Press Conference to TV stations he refused entry into Zimbabwe for 37 years— The Instigator (@The Instigator) 1532864839.0
BREAKING: Lonely old man tricks people into visiting him. #Mugabe— Joe Black 🇿🇼 (@Joe Black 🇿🇼) 1532862532.0
I never thought I’d hear the day Mugabe would be complaining about the very things he used to do to the opposition.… https://t.co/zpiJTBOI2i— Christopher Farai (@Christopher Farai) 1532861109.0
#Mugabe looks like he’s about to become the first person to pass away at his own press conference #ZimElections2018 https://t.co/v9pv5X2FRv— Chris Vick (@Chris Vick) 1532862547.0
It baffles me that Mugabe doesn’t want to go away quietly🤷🏽♂️ https://t.co/5XB7bvsizZ— Diced Pineapple (@Diced Pineapple) 1532872570.0
Mugabe’s press conference was important. Sometimes, in my frustration with “New Dispensation”, I forget what it wa… https://t.co/beZfzNVZ80— Ranga.🇿🇼 (@Ranga.🇿🇼) 1532872510.0
Over 5 million Zimbabweans will head to the polls on Monday in a historic election—the first since the ousting Mugabe last November. First-time voters under 30 are expected to carry the election, which could represent a new tide in Zimbabwean politics, reports BBC Africa.
Writer Tadiwa Madenga breaks down how the realities of Zimbabwean politics affects members of the diaspora "Seems It's Always a Farce: Zimbabweans in the Diaspora on Trying to Participate in the Upcoming Elections."