His statement, similar to those aired by the military mid-2000s at the height of opposition MDC’s popularity, was uttered at a Gweru rally in Mkoba on Thursday.
Mnangagwa described opposition supporters as sellouts and urged residents to vote for Zanu-PF so as to preserve their freedom.
“When we defeated whites after a protracted war of independence, they left behind their remnants who want to ferment violence and chaos in the country. We will deal with them,” said Mnangagwa.
“Zanu-PF is the only party which has a history and a legacy for this country. We will not allow zvimbwasungata (sellouts) to rule this country.
“The current freedom we are enjoying, the current liberation, the current independence and sovereignty, the current respect and dignity we are enjoying as a people, it came at a cost. It came as a result of some daughters and sons who sacrificed their lives and limbs for us to get independence.
“You were beaten by the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) to this seat, I do not want to see a repeat of that.”
The CCC dominates in the Midlands town.
Mnangagwa’s comments come at a time politically motivated violence has been on an increase countrywide, with four CCC supporters killed since March including the stabbing of Mboneni Ncube at a rally in Mbizo, Kwekwe.
Added Mnangagwa: “To preserve the independence, respect and dignity as Africans, do not walk through the same torturous journey of dying.
“You do not sweat when voting. Those who liberated the country sacrificed a lot. To preserve freedom vote for Zanu-PF.”
In 2001, late general Vitalis Zvinavashe, then army commander, told journalists governance of Zimbabwe was a “straight jacket” in reference to how Zanu-PF’s hierarchy determined who would take over.
His utterances were in response to an MDC whose support base was improving and threatening the ruling party and late President Robert Mugabe’s hold on power.