HARARE – President Robert Mugabe says he is ready to relinquish power if he loses today’s “do-or-die” election but said his chances of winning were as good as they were in 1980.
“If you go into a process and join into competition where there are only two outcomes, win or lose, you can’t be both, and you either win or lose,” Mugabe told a rare media briefing at State House yesterday.
“If you lose, then you must surrender to those who have won, if you win, those who lost must also surrender to you. We will do so and comply with the rules,” he said.
Mugabe, 89, is looking to extend his 33-year rule when he squares off against his 61-year-old rival Morgan Tsvangirai and two other presidential challengers Dumiso Dabengwa and Welshman Ncube.
But he denied any attempts to rig the election.
He said: “We have done no cheating”.
Earlier, Mugabe had met for the first time with Tsvangirai since campaigns started together with African Union mission head Olusegun Obasanjo in a meeting said to be jovial.
Mugabe said he has plans on how he will spend his retirement time if voted out of power.
“You are asking a man who is 89 years old about how to spend his time, how did I ever spend all these years? I will spend my time the same way I spent those years,” he said.
“You look at Zimbabwe you, think there is nothing to do? I am an educationist, I am an economist, and I can’t do that? I am a politician full time. I am also now a good story teller you know, I can spend my time telling stories or writing them,” he said to laughter from local and foreign journalists.
The Zanu PF leader said in the event that today’s elections fail to produce an outright winner, he was ready to discuss a coalition.
“That circumstance is not envisaged this time, I don’t think that we will have that same result, I think we will have an outright result,” he said. “But if it is not outright, we will discuss. We cannot foretell what we shall do before we know the actual facts, let the facts be delivered to us by the voters tomorrow (today) and we will know which way to go.
“It all depends on what we get from the voters, what the voter want us to do.”
Turning to his relationship with Tsvangirai during their four-year coalition government, Mugabe said they fought so hard together to ensure Zimbabwe did not collapse.
“We had become very friendly; we managed in pursuing our tasks of ensuring that the development of country does not get to the stage of collapsing,” he said.
“We managed to block it in spite of sanctions and although we accused the MDC of having appealed for sanctions, but there we were together fighting against sanctions and that was very important.”