When former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe was ousted, many did not think he would still be as influential in the upcoming elections. Nothing could be further from the truth.
People in various towns are in Mugabe-branded t-shirts even though he is not vying for any position. His loyalists, who feel slighted over his ouster, are now using his appearance as a way to support the opposition.
Opposition candidates have also jumped on this bandwagon, using Mugabe’s exit to stand up against his former party, ZANU PF.
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“They removed Comrade Mugabe using military force. We should show them that the ballot box is supreme to the gun,” one opposition candidate, Phionah Riekert, told AP News.
Riekert is running under New Patriotic Front, a party formed in March with Mugabe’s blessings. The party is made up of young members who had been booted out of ZANU PF. It is currently backing presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa of the main opposition MDC party.
Chamisa is up against current president Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is running under ZANU PF.
Other Mugabe loyalists are still not brave enough to wear Mugabe t-shirts although they still support his land policies that saw the removal of white farmers from Zimbabwe. Many others miss the 94-year-old president but are looking for a new Zimbabwe without economic issues and high unemployment rates.
The elections are taking place on July 30.