HARARE — Zimbabwe's longtime president, Robert Mugabe, said on Monday that his party will not yield its victory in disputed elections and proclaimed he has disposed of his main political rivals, with whom he had ruled in a tense coalition government, “like garbage.”
In his first public speech since the July 31 elections, Mugabe spoke at the annual Heroes' Day gathering at a national shrine in Harare that honors guerrillas killed in the war against white-minority rule in Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was known before 1980.
Speaking in the local Shona language, Mugabe called on his main challenger, outgoing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, to accept defeat, then dismissed him and his followers in scathing language.
“Those who are smarting from defeat can commit suicide if they so wish. But I tell them even dogs will not sniff at their flesh if they choose to die that way,” Mugabe said.
Mugabe won the July 31 election with 61 percent of the vote, Zimbabwe's electoral commission has announced, with Tsvangirai getting 34 percent. Tsvangirai, who alleges widespread rigging and is challenging the poll results in court, stayed away from Monday's gathering.
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