(AFP) – Feb 21, 2008
HARARE (AFP) — President Robert Mugabe on Thursday compared ex-finance minister Simba Makoni to a "prostitute" and said he was surprised by Makoni's decision to challenge him in March presidential elections.
In his first reaction to Makoni's announcement to stand for the presidency in polls on March 29, Mugabe said his decision was "absolutely disgraceful".
"I did not think Makoni, after all his experience, could behave in the way he behaved, and in a naive way too," Mugabe said in an interview on national television on his 84th birthday.
"Standing proudly and saying 'I am Simba Makoni'. He does not even have a party. He says: 'The people will come to me. I am like a magnet, come to me and I will lead you.'
"So I have compared him to a prostitute. A prostitute could have stood as well and said: 'I am in the MDC, I have clients in ZANU-PF. There is no party where I don't have clients.'
"A prostitute could have done better than Makoni because she has clients."
He was referring to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition party and the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).
Makoni announced three weeks ago he will take on Mugabe in the presidential elections, saying he decided to run following consultations with fellow members of the ZANU-PF and others over the country's chronic economic crisis.
He was expelled from the party last week but was confirmed by a special nominations court as an independent presidential candidate.
Mugabe said in the interview the government would not allow western countries to observe Zimbabwe's elections.
"Do we need supervisors to supervise their elections? Why should they supervise ours?"
The MDC party announced Thursday the end of its dialogue on political reforms with Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF ahead of elections it said would be flawed.
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