London, Jun 21: Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has vowed to remain in power whatever the outcome of next week's election, and said that "only God" can remove him from office, as the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) considers pulling out of next week's run-off election amid escalating violence.
"The MDC will never be allowed to rule this country - never ever," Mugabe told local business people in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city, referring to the opposition. "Only God who appointed me will remove me, not the MDC, not the British," he said. But the MDC was considering whether to contest the election at all amid a mounting campaign of violence against its members and supporters, The Telegraph reported.
The party appeared divided with spokesman Nelson Chamisa admitting that "differences of opinion" had emerged in the party's senior leadership.
The party would decide this weekend and announce on Monday, June 22 whether it would run against Mugabe in a bid to end his 28-year reign.
Mugabe is in power since independence of Zimbabwe from Britain in 1980 and has frequently accused his presidential run-off opponent Morgan Tsvangirai of being a stooge of the former colonial power.
Chamisa said MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was under increasing pressure from his own supporters to boycott the poll.
Meanwhile, Tsvangirai urged supporters in an email not to be intimidated and vote in next week's election.