Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has accused the opposition of lying
about political violence in the country to cast doubt on forthcoming
opposition says at least 70 of its supporters have been killed and many
more beaten in the run-up to next week’s presidential run-off election.
He also said the opposition MDC would never be allowed to run the country and that "only God" could remove him.
The MDC is due to decide on Monday whether to contest the run-off.
BBC’s Peter Biles in Johannesburg says President Mugabe has given
another indication that he will not relinquish power as a result of a
"We will never allow an event like an election to reverse
our independence, our sovereignty," Mr Mugabe told supporters at a
campaign rally in the southern city of Bulawayo on Friday.
"Only God who appointed me will remove me – not the MDC, not the British."
Mugabe repeated his accusation that the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) was acting in the interest of Britain, the former colonial power,
and other Western countries.
Later, he was quoted by the
state-run Herald newspaper as saying that MDC leaders had been
compiling names of people they say are victims of political violence.
"They say this so that they can later say the elections were not free and fair. Which is a damn lie!" he said.
Mr Mugabe’s police chief, Augustine Chihuri, has claimed that the MDC is the main culprit in the current political violence.
"All necessary force will be applied on malcontents and perpetrators of violence," he said.
"This violence is aimed at intimidating people from voting."
The MDC is to announce on Monday whether it will contest the 27 June poll, a party source has told the BBC.
leader Morgan Tsvangirai – who is due to face Mr Mugabe in the run-off
– is reported to be under pressure to pull out in view of escalating
New footage emerged on Friday, shot by US
embassy staff, showing ruling party militias armed with sticks
apparently hunting for MDC supporters in a township in the capital,
Zimbabwe’s immediate neighbours have added their voice to increasing international concern over the validity of the run-off.
On Friday Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, one of Mr Mugabe’s closest allies, has urged him to stop the violence.
Foreign Minister Bernard Membe, head of an election monitoring team,
told the BBC earlier this week that violence appeared to be "escalating
In Brussels, the European
Union has drafted a summit statement saying it is ready to take
unspecified "additional measures against those responsible for
The EU already has an arms embargo against Zimbabwe
and has placed travel bans on – and frozen the assets of – President
Mugabe and senior government and ruling Zanu-PF party officials.
Mugabe – who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 – blames
Western sanctions for causing the country’s economic freefall.
MDC suffered at least five violent deaths of activists or their family
members this week and its secretary general, Tendai Biti, was charged
with treason and subversion.
"Differences of opinion" have
emerged among the party’s senior officials over its next move, MDC
spokesman Nelson Chamisa told the BBC after the leadership met in
Harare on Friday.
The party, he said, needed to assess the
situation in the country but if conditions did not change, the vote
would be a "charade".
"We are assessing the situation as some areas are inaccessible," he added.
are being abducted at night. Our grass-roots activists are being
subjected to terror. Some of them are staying in the bushes and
mountains to avoid pro-government militias.