Zimbabwe's Mnangagwa accuses rival Chamisa of striking deal with Mugabe

Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe said he would vote for Zimbabwe's opposition in Monday's election

The former president, however, said Chamisa "seems to be doing well". He indicated, however, that Chamisa was the only viable candidate.

"I can not vote for those who have reduced me to this condition", Mugabe said from his home in Harare.

Zimbabwe goes to the polls Monday in its first election since Mugabe was forced to resign last November after 37 years in power, with allegations mounting of voter fraud and predictions of a disputed result.

But the bulk of his two-hour long missive was a hint at that he would vote for opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa on Monday because ZANU-PF had caused him too much pain. I wish to meet him if he wins. "And let us accept the verdict".

The lawyer and pastor emerged to lead the main opposition party after the death earlier this year of its leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who for years had been Mugabe's top challenger in elections. What began with optimism crumbled into repression, alleged vote-rigging, intimidation of the opposition, violent land seizures from white farmers and years of worldwide sanctions. Mnangagwa has repeatedly declared Zimbabwe "open for business" since he took office, but a credible election is key to lifting global sanctions and opening the door to badly needed investment in a country whose economy has long collapsed.

Mnangagwa, a former Mugabe confidante, has tried to recast himself as a voice for reform, inviting back Western dozens of election observers and pledging a free and fair vote.

Mr Mnangagwa and his rival Nelson Chamisa held final election rallies yesterday and both vowed to rebuild an economy shattered by Mr Mugabe's long rule.

He blamed "evil and malicious characters" for his resignation, which was met with a joyous outpouring by thousands of people in the capital, Harare, and elsewhere. "I was regarded now as an enemy but if the coup was to protect me how come I'm treated now as an opponent", he said.

Mnangagwa, known as "the crocodile", an animal famed in Zimbabwean lore for its stealth and ruthlessness, was removed as vice president by Mugabe last November to make way for his wife, Grace, to seize power, analysts say.

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