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Mugabe: 'I can't vote for Zanu-PF' in Zimbabwe election

Mugabe: 'I can't vote for Zanu-PF' in Zimbabwe election

Zimbabwe's former leader Robert Mugabe has refused to back his successor just a day before the country's historic Monday vote.

Mugabe said he was forced to resign last November at a time he had already planned to voluntarily step down at Zanu-PF's congress the following month and hand-over power to former defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi.

"I can not vote for those who have tormented me".

Media were allowed through the gates of the luxury sprawling mansion where chairs were set up on a formal lawn in front of a blue-tiled pagoda to listen.

The former president, slouched in his chair and often mumbling during the nearly two-hour long event, said Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance would instead get his vote in Zimbabwe's first general election since his resignation past year.

During the address, he also addresses rumors that he planned to have his wife, Grace Mugabe take over, calling them "utter nonsense".

Many in Zimbabwe knew no other leader but Mugabe, who led the country for 37 years and since independence from white minority rule in 1980.

"I never thought (Mnangagwa) would be the man who turned against me", he added.

Zimbabwe's long serving leader, who was in good spirits, said he had even confided in then South African President, Jacob Zuma that Sekeramayi had been his choice.

Mugabe described his November ousting as a coup, arguing that his rule was legitimate because he held elections every five years.

"Matebeleland can not afford to throw away the presidential vote by allowing its vote to be divided by [President Emmerson] Mnangagwa through his sponsored candidates". It also faces high youth unemployment rates and since most of the registered voters are below 40 years, the electorate will focus most on candidates whose agenda leans more towards creation of jobs.

Many Zimbabweans have left the country in search of work in South Africa.

The frontrunners in addressing these challenges are Zanu-PF's President Mnangagwa, 75, and the MDC's Mr Chamisa, 40.

Mnangagwa, who is known as "the crocodile", an animal famed in Zimbabwe for its stealth and ruthlessness, has promised to deliver jobs and is seen as open to economic reforms.

Mr Chamisa, who became an MP at the age of 25, could become Zimbabwe's youngest president.

An opinion poll last week saw the MDC close the gap with Zanu-PF from 11 percentage points to three, with 20% of voters undecided.

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