Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is implementing a de facto military coup to keep himself in power but will be ousted with the help of other African countries, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said.
“We’ll manage to get Mugabe out. Mugabe is being deserted. No one wants to touch Mugabe in the region now. Eventually, we will ease him out,” Tsvangirai told Time Magazine.
Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) accuses Mugabe, 84, of prolonging the delay in issuing the results of a March 29 presidential election while he plans a violent response to his biggest defeat since taking power in 1980.
Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party lost control of parliament for the first time in an election on March 29 but no results of the parallel presidential vote have been issued.
“This is, in a sense, a de facto military coup. They have rolled out military forces across the whole country, to prepare for a run-off and try to cow the population. It’s an attempt to try to create conditions for Mugabe to win,” Tsvangirai said.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said on Friday the ruling party was preparing for a runoff after its tallies showed neither Tsvangirai nor Mugabe won the required absolute majority.
The MDC rejected both a runoff and ZANU-PF attempts to have at least 14 seats recounted in the parliamentary vote. It says Tsvangirai has won and should immediately end Mugabe’s 28-year rule.
The regional body SADC, concerned at the increasing possibility of violence because of the election deadlock, has called an emergency summit in Lusaka on Saturday.
Tsvangirai said he would try to persuade the regional leaders to put pressure on Mugabe to step down.
SADC has been criticised in the past for failing to pressure Mugabe despite the economic collapse in Zimbabwe, now suffering the world’s highest inflation, chronic shortages of food and fuel and a near worthless currency.