Wow! What an election campaign!
Sure it won't happen during his lifetime. It doesn't sound too reassuring for his cause, given the fact that the 84-year-old Mugabe has already lived way past his actuarial life expectancy.
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe said Saturday the opposition would never govern in his lifetime and he was ready to go to war to ensure it does not oust him from office in a June 27 run-off eection.
"Should this country be taken by traitors... it is impossible," Mugabe said, referring to the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in a speech at the burial of a former independence fighter.
"It shall never happen... as long as we are alive and those who fought for the country are alive," he added. "We are prepared to fight for our country and to go to war for it."
Mugabe also raised the spectre of war on Friday if MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who fell just short of an outright majority in a March first round, wins the run-off poll in just under a fortnight's time.
The veteran president, who has ruled since independence in 1980, has frequently portrayed Tsvangirai as a puppet of former colonial power Britain and wealthy whites, thousands of whom lost their land when he launched a controversial programme of farm expropriations at the turn of the decade.
"Once again we want to make it clear to the British and Americans that we are no one's subjects and will never be," said Mugabe.
"This country shall not again come under the rule and control of the white man, direct or indirect. Never, ever.
"The British rule has gone, gone for ever. The white man is gone, never, ever will this country be ruled by a white man again."
Mugabe also launched a new diatribe at British Prime Minister Gordon Brown who called on Friday for "an end to violence, an end to repression ... and for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe."
"Brown, prime minister of Britain, continues to interfere in our internal affairs, making us a subject matter of British policy as if we remain a permanent colony of Britain," said Mugabe.
The MDC has accused Mugabe and his security forces of trying to cripple Tsvangirai's campaign, with the opposition leader detained on numerous occasions.
The opposition also says more than 60 of its supporters have been killed by pro-Mugabe militias since the first round of voting while thousands more have been hospitalised.
Once seen as a post-colonial success story, Zimbabwe's economy has been in freefall since Mugabe began his land reforms at the turn of this decade.
Inflation, officially put at 165,000 percent, is thought to be nearer two million percent while food shortages are widespread.