Mugabe says wanted Sekeramayi as successor, will vote Chamisa, denies Dzamara abduction

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Robert Mugabe refused to back Emmerson Mnangagwa

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Robert Mugabe refused to back Emmerson Mnangagwa

Mr Mugabe, who has backed a new political party that is part of a coalition supporting Mr Chamisa, said: 'He seems to be doing well at his rallies'.

"I was sacked, from the party I founded, ZANU-PF". But I am not selecting any votes.

"I can not vote for those who tormented me", he said.

Mugabe on Sunday said it was "total nonsense" that he wanted his wife to succeed him and claimed that he was preparing to resign at a ZANU-PF congress in December.

"We have had, since November, an environment in our country which is far from being free, even politically, let alone constitutional and legal", Mugabe said.

Mr Mnangagwa held senior positions in Mr Mugabe's governments as head of internal security and vice president but since coming to power has cast himself as a reformer with his Zimbabwe is "open for business" mantra. He said he wished whoever wins well. Mugabe said: "What is there, is just Chamisa". "Those tanks that rolled through across the country, who were they fighting?"

Little separates the two men's policies but Mr Mnangagwa is 75 and represents the war generation that has ruled since independence in 1980, while Mr Chamisa, a 40-year-old lawyer, embodies the hopes of many young people.

The MDC on Sunday again raised allegations of a flawed electoral roll, ballot paper malpractice, voter intimidation and bias in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

Mugabe went on instead to endorse Nelson Chamisa, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Experts say the current election campaign has been the most peaceful for many decades.

Polling in Zimbabwe is uncertain, but a recent Afrobarometer survey of 2,400 people put Mnangagwa on 40 percent and Chamisa on 37 percent, with 20 percent undecided.

President Mnangagwa, who is accused of involvement in election violence and fraud under Mugabe, has vowed to hold a fair vote and invited in global observers - including the previously-banned European Union team.

If Chamisa disputes the result or no one candidate gets more than 50 per cent and there is a runoff, there are fears of street protests and possible violence.

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