Mugabe says no vote for those who seized power

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe meets with senior members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and police at State House in Harare, Zimbabwe November 19, 2017. ZIMPAPERS IMAGES/Joseph Nyadzayo/Handout via REUTERS

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) – The Latest on Zimbabwe’s election (all times local):

Zimbabwe’s former leader Robert Mugabe has emerged from months of silence to tell reporters that “I will not vote for those who have illegally taken power” in Monday’s historic election.

Mugabe stepped down in November under military and ruling party pressure.

The election pits his former deputy, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, against main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.

Mugabe says of Chamisa, “He seems to be doing well at his rallies.”

Mugabe adds that “Whoever wins, we wish him well … And let us accept the verdict.”

The former leader, who ruled for 37 years with increasing repression, now calls for a “democratic constitution” and the people’s freedom to speak.

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12:30 p.m.

Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe is speaking to the nation for the first time since stepping down from power in November and less than 24 hours before the country faces a historic vote – the first without him.

The 94-year-old Mugabe is speaking to reporters about the circumstances of his removal from power.

He also could endorse someone ahead of Monday’s election in which his former deputy, President Emmerson Mnangagawa, faces a 40-year-old lawyer and pastor, Nelson Chamisa.