Zimbabwe: Scores Abandon ED Rally

Voters wait for casting their ballots in 2013 (file photo).

President Emmerson Mnangagwa's final campaign rally ahead of tomorrow's elections was yesterday marred by a walkout by Zanu PF supporters before he could finish delivering his campaign speech.

The supporters, many of them bussed from outside Harare, started rushing to exit points while Mnangagwa was midway through his speech.

However, police and national youth service graduates known as Green Bombers, refused to open the gates.

In videos that went viral on social media, the impatient Zanu PF supporters could be heard hurling insults at the youths, demanding to be allowed to leave the National Sports Stadium.

The Zanu PF supporters shouted "you are taking us for granted" as they advanced towards the barricaded gates.

After some brief resistance, the youths gave in and hundreds of people started streaming out of the stadium.

Some headed to buses and lorries that were parked outside the stadium.

Prior to the rally, Zanu PF had said the president would be delivering a "victory speech", but the event was poorly subscribed.

A number of rallies addressed by Mnangagwa around the country ended in similar fashion, with the biggest walkout happening in Marondera.

Addressing yesterday's rally, Mnangagwa warned election observers that they would be kicked out of the country if they meddled in the election process.

"I want to tell observers that they should do what they came to Zimbabwe for," he said.

" They should not meddle in the internal politics of this country, the airport is there, they will leave."

In 2002, former president Robert Mugabe expelled European Union (EU) monitors after they raised red flags over Zimbabwe's electoral processes.

The expulsion of the monitors triggered Zimbabwe's isolation by the international community over alleged electoral fraud and human rights violations.

Mnangagwa this year invited the EU to observe the elections saying he was ready to return Zimbabwe to democracy after taking over from Mugabe in November last year following a military takeover of government.

Yesterday, the Zanu PF leader said he was confident of winning tomorrow's presidential elections.

"Come Monday, Zimbabwe is born afresh. On Monday, this coming Monday, we will win elections. We are voting for the future, we are not voting for today or tomorrow, we are voting for generations to come. Together, we will build a new Zimbabwe for all," Mnangagwa said,

He said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) must resist demands by the opposition over the transparency of tomorrow's elections.

"No political party can give instructions to Zec, not even government, because the constitution provides that they must be independent," Mnangagwa said.

MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa has accused Zec of trying to engineer a Mnangagwa victory through various underhand tactics.

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