President Robert Mugabe yesterday said he would have been arrested for contempt of court had he not declared July 31 the date for elections.
REPORT BY ALBERT NCUBE
Addressing tens of thousands of party supporters at a rally in Gwanda, Mugabe said he had no choice but comply with a Constitutional Court judgment that polls be held before the end of July.
“I could have declared July 1 or 2 or 15, but I chose the last day of the month so that we could prepare for elections, but they still say they wanted more time,” he said.
“What did you want me to do? I could have been arrested.”
Mugabe said the African Union had given Zimbabwe the thumbs-up to proceed on elections, but he had no kind words for his South African counterpart President Jacob Zuma and his international affairs adviser Lindiwe Zulu.
“May South Africa stop its negative voice. I appeal to Zuma to stop this woman speaking on Zimbabwe,” he said.
Zulu recently voiced her concern that Zimbabwe might not be ready for elections, but Mugabe has taken offence at this, describing Zulu as a street woman.
Mugabe said Zuma’s predecessor Thabo Mbeki was the only one who spoke on Zimbabwe and the South African leader should emulate that, instead of using Zulu.
Despite various reports of his ailing health, Mugabe addressed his second rally in as many days, standing for more than two hours, as he gave party supporters a history lesson.
He said the coalition government was the worst in the history of the country, urging his supporters to vote overwhelmingly for him.
“If I were to go around I know most of you are tired of this creature (inclusive government) and want it gone yesterday, the day before yesterday, the day before the day before yesterday,” the President quipped.
“I who has been President of it wants it gone.”
Mugabe reverted to his most favoured theme, blaming sanctions for the failure of Zimbabwe’s economy.
“Because you were now suffering, no jobs and you thought the MDC would bring more jobs and better incomes,” he said.
The First Lady, Grace Mugabe donated an assortment of goods that included maize meal, cooking oil and beans to the elderly and promised more will be delivered soon.
The Zimbabwe Red Cross had to attend to numerous people who collapsed in the packed stadium.