Zimbabwe: Snubbed Mnangagwa Says Mugabe Free to Express Himself

Former president Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace Mugabe.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said former President Robert Mugabe was acting within the confines of his democratic rights to express himself after the former state leader said Sunday he was never going to vote for the incumbent.

He was speaking to a group of journalists who witnessed him cast his vote at Sherwood Primary School in Kwekwe Saturday.

Mugabe, ousted in a military coup which saw his former deputy step in as President, spoke his heart out Saturday about how he has been ill-treated by the country's new rulers insisting he would not vote for his "tormentors".

Mugabe said boldly that he was going to vote in favour of MDC Alliance candidate Nelson Chamisa whom he said stood a more realistic chance of upstaging the incumbent.

Asked on his thoughts about Mugabe's sentiments, Mnangagwa said Mugabe should not be persecuted for speaking his mind.

"I can assure you that this country is enjoying democratic space which has never been experienced before," he said.

"In any democratic space in the country, people have the freedom to express their views both positive and negative."

Mnangagwa said Mugabe must not be faulted for speaking his mind.

"It is his right to express his mind because there is that democratic space in existence in the country," he said.

The state leader said he had no problems engaging his former boss some time.

"Mugabe is a citizen of this country. I can engage him at any time, not because there is an election or no election; we can engage him at any time when there is need for engagement," he said.

"Mugabe is a citizen of this country," he said.

"I can engage him at any time not because there is an election or no election. We can engage him at any time when there is need for engagement."

Commenting about the electoral process, Mnangagwa expressed satisfaction the situation remained peaceful right to polling day.

"I am happy that both the processes of campaigning was peaceful and the voting day itself is peaceful," he said, adding, "I have no doubt that the process and the entire electoral processes will remain peaceful."

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