01 Aug 2013 04:30

By Charles Tjatindi HARARE, 01 AUG (NAMPA) ? Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe says he will step down if he is defeated in Zimbabwe's general elections underway in the country this week. Mugabe told journalists on Wednesday before casting his ballot at a primary school in the high- density suburb of Highfield that he is ready to surrender and allow whoever wins to take over the reins if he fails to be the first ?one past the post? in the presidential race. A confident Mugabe said he, however, expects the same from his rivals in the race if they too do not make it. ?I am ready to step down if I do not win. This is a democratic process, and I will allow it to take its course,? he noted. Mugabe, however, holds fast that Zimbabweans will show the same willpower which had secured his stay at the helm of the country?s leadership for over 30 years by reinstating him to State House. ?I am confident that the people of Zimbabwe will do what is right for their future by returning Zanu-PF to power. If that does not happen, democracy will prevail, and whoever takes over will get my blessing,? he added. Although many reports questioned his aspiration to the presidency given his age, the 89-year old Mugabe said he was merely responding to the call of the Zimbabwean people, who have shown trust in him by making him their candidate in the race. The Zimbabwean president will, however, have to get past his main rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and four other candidates to claim victory in the presidential race. Other candidates contesting the presidency are founding secretary of the MDC Welshman Ncube, who leads a breakaway wing of the MDC; former Home Affairs? Minister Dumiso Dabengwa of the Zimbabwe African People?s Union (Zapu); and Kisinoti Mukwazhe of the little-known Zimbabwe Development Party, which was formed on the eve of Zimbabwe?s 2008 polls. The presidential results are expected to be announced after all other results in the National Assembly and Local Authority elections had been verified. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) promised that all results should be available within five days after polling day. (NAMPA) CT/ND/TK