Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) expressed outrage on Wednesday over remarks by a ruling party official that the army would not cede power to the opposition should they win upcoming elections.
Deputy finance minister Terrence Mukupe told supporters at a rally on Monday that the military which seized power from long-time leader Robert Mugabe in a November coup would not allow opposition leader Nelson Chamisa to become president.
“How can we say, honestly, the soldiers took the country, practically snatched it from Mugabe, to come and hand it over to Chamisa’’ Mr Mukupe said.
“Look at me, I also want to be a president, there is no one who does not want to sit in the Mercedes Benz while sirens are sounding all the way, but everything has its time,’’ he added.
Tabitha Khumalo, a spokesperson for the MDC, slammed Mukupe’s comments, saying it showed the current government’s promise of a free and fair election was not genuine.
“This shows that the army is conniving with the ruling party to steal election results,’’ she told dpa.
“We will have a situation like in 2008 when the late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the election but Mugabe refused to hand over power.’’
However, government spokesperson Simon Moyo sought to distance the government from Mukupe’s remarks, calling them “unfortunate,’’ and not the position of the ruling party or army.
“Any pronouncement suggesting that our well respected security organs will act in a partisan manner in relation to the country’s politics are unlawful, reckless, improper, uncalled-for and thus condemnable,’’ he said in a statement.