Mugabe says vote must go ahead despite pressure
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Thursday rejected African calls to postpone a presidential election on Friday, saying there could be no interference in his country even from the African Union, the Reuters reported.
Mugabe, 84, who is bound to extend his 28-year-rule in the one candidate election, said he was open to discussions with the opposition MDC. Its leader Morgan Tsvangirai has withdrawn from the election after a wave of deadly attacks on his supporters.
Addressing a campaign rally in Chitungwiza, south of Harare, Mugabe said: "We have some of our brothers in Africa making that call (to postpone the vote), pushing us to violate our own law and we have refused to do so, we are sticking to our law."
Mugabe said he would attend an African Union summit in Egypt next weekend but no solutions could be imposed on Zimbabwe from outside. He said he was ready to answer any challenge from within the AU to the elections.
"I know some people are gearing themselves for an attack on Zimbabwe. I want to see any country which will raise its finger in the AU, our elections have been free."
A security committee of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on Wednesday called for the vote to be postponed, saying Mugabe's re-election as the only candidate could lack legitimacy because of chronic political violence.
The committee includes AU chairman Tanzania.
Opposition leader Tsvangirai last Sunday pulled out of the vote because of violence that he says has killed almost 90 of his Movement of Democratic Change supporters. He has taken refuge in the Dutch embassy ever since.
Tsvangirai said earlier there could be no negotiations with Mugabe if he went ahead with Friday's election.
He said that if Mugabe declared himself president he would be shunned as an illegitimate leader who killed his own people.