Long time leader and deposed president of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe pulled a shocker yesterday when he, at a dramatic last minute press conference, endorsed his long time rival of the Movement for Democratic Change, Nelson Chamisa who is vying for the country’s highest office in elections scheduled to take place today.
Chamisa is leading a coalition of political parties dubbed the MDC Alliance and has jumped headlong into the election inspite of an uneven playing field given that fundamental electoral reforms had not been realised.
There has also been an outcry in the opposition camp on how the country’s vote counting body, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), has refused to budge to demands for a disclosure of the voter’s roll as well as to give parties a chance to fully see how the ballot paper was being printed.
Suspicion is rife that ZEC has been captured by the old-time ruling party inspite of the incumbent president saying it is independent and urging the aggrieved to head to the courts and iron out grievances.
True to the old saying that in politics there are no permanent friends and enemies but common interests, Mugabe came out to downplay his long time comrade, the incumbent president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took power last year November in a coup d’état with the help of the opposition.
Mugabe who never acknowledged Mnangagwa as president said yesterday that the other presidential hopefuls in the country’s campaign trail did not offer much to the Zimbabwean electorate before endorsing the 40 year-old Chamisa.
Mugabe’s loyalists also flocked to Chamisa’s final star rally over the weekend which drew crowds at Freedom Square eclipsing Mnangagwa’s rally which was also taking place a few Kilometers away at the national sports stadium.
The endorsement is thought to give the Alliance a mega boost in votes and wrestle power for the first time since 1999.
“I can’t vote for Zanu PF, I can’t! I will choose from the other 22 parties. I can’t vote for Mai Mujuru and Mai Khupe because they don’t offer very much. There is Chamisa left,” said the nonagenarian at the widely publicised presser at his Blue Roof mansion the capital Harare.