Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front presidential candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa says he will accept the result if he loses next month’s elections but he hoped his opponents will also accept the result and support him if he wins.
Mnangagwa will be facing 22 other candidates including Movement for Democratic Change Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa in the coming elections.
Chamisa is Mnangagwa’s strongest opponent but a poll by Afrobarometer showed Mnangagwa slightly leading Chamisa but he did not master enough votes for an outright victory.
Some 26 percent of those polled, however, refused to express their opinion which means that they could sway the vote resulting in one of the two major candidates winning an outright victory.
Although media reports are talking about a run-off, and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has penciled the run-off to be held on 8 September if there is no outright winner, Zimbabwe has only had one run-off after former President Robert Mugabe was beaten by then MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai but it was so violent that Tsvangirai pulled out.
Most Zimbabweans are therefore very skeptical about a run off.
Mnangagwa has promised free, fair, transparent and credible elections and has invited observers from across the world, some for the first time since 2002.
One of his lieutenants, deputy Finance Minister Terence Mukupe, however torched a storm when he said the military did not remove Mugabe to let someone take over.
Mugabe was removed in November last following what was termed military intervention, now popularly dubbed Operation Restore Order.
Mnangagwa’s opponents, however, call it a coup and describe him as an illegitimate president because he came to power through a coup.
Mnangagwa brushed off reports that the military could intervene if he loses the elections.
“The army is in the barracks,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “If any other party wins, we will support them as they will support me if I win.”
Zimbabweans seem to be worried, though.
According the Afrobarometer poll, some 41 percent said security agencies will not accept the result of the presidential election if Mnangagwa and his ZANU-PF lose.
But unlike in the past, 53 percent felt that there will be no violence after the elections while 50 percent felt the main political parties were not likely to agree to a government of national unity.