Zimbabwe’s Mugabe emerges, rejects ruling party in election

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The former Zimbabwean president said he only resigned to avoid conflict and bloodshed and he did it for the people.

Zimbabwe's ousted longtime leader Robert Mugabe on Sunday endorsed the opposition in Monday's presidential election, his first intervention in a tight vote that-for the first time since 1980-doesn't feature his name on the ballot.

"The army-run Zanu PF is bent on dividing Matabeleland", he wrote.

Here's a look at the two main candidates vying to lead the once-prosperous southern African nation out of the shadow of former leader Robert Mugabe, who stepped down in November under military pressure.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has responded to Mugabe's press conference in which the former leader bashed Mnangagwa and the Zanu PF for violating the country's democracy and accused them of ill treating him and his relatives. "I was regarded as an enemy, but how come that I am treated now as a nonentity, an opponent?"

Nicknamed "the Crocodile" for his guerrilla activities during the war for liberation and for years Mugabe's enforcer, Mnangagwa has tried to cast himself as a reformer with pledges of a free and fair election after past votes were marred by violence and irregularities. "I think it is just Chamisa".

Zimbabwe's former leader, who appeared to have finally allowed his hair to go gray, spent the final question musing on his legacy, reminding people of his years in prison during the country's fight for liberation and his work raising literacy and education standards.

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As the countdown to Monday's election in Zimbabwe accelerates, politicians are doing some last minute vote grabbing.

"Today we unlock the potential of our beloved homeland to build a new Zimbabwe for all", he said, repeating his promise of economic revival.

Chamisa, head of the MDC party, could become Zimbabwe's youngest president.

But he has also vowed not to boycott the vote, saying his party would still win.

Both candidates are due to address the media later on Sunday.

A run-off vote is scheduled for September 8 if no presidential candidate wins at least 50% in the first round.

Parliamentary and local elections will run alongside votes for the presidency.