Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa's silence amid continued "accusations by opposition leader Nelson Chamisa that he rigged the July 30 elections is not a sign of weakness", his spokesperson has reportedly said.
According to The Standard newspaper, George Charamba said that Mnangagwa was not weak.
"…the silence of Mnangagwa is not a weakness. He is a man of steel and wool, depending on which side you tickle him.
"This narrative that the legitimacy of the president is made through acceptance of defeat by the opposition leader is a false narrative," Charamba was quoted as saying.
Charamba's remarks came as the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) maintained last week that he won the elections and "he was not going to wait for the 2023 general elections to face off with Mnangagwa", News Day reported.
Chamisa said that he was working on a "grand plan" to unseat Mnangagwa "peacefully before the next elections.
'I have no fear'
"We won, but they announced something different. Now, do we wait for 2023 while we know that we won the election? Is that possible? Now we are in the process of organising our supporters in the country so that we all have one aim, to say 'what we voted for should be respected; the results that were announced are your own problem, but the vote of the people should be respected'," the privately-owned NewsDay quoted Chamisa as saying.
Zimbabwe's top court in August dismissed MDC's bid to have presidential elections annulled over alleged rigging in favour of Mnangagwa.
In a unanimous ruling, Chief Justice Luke Malaba dismissed the application with costs after strongly criticising the legal challenge, AFP reported.
Mnangagwa, of the ruling Zanu-PF party, won the election with 50.6% of the vote - just enough to meet the 50% threshold needed to avoid a run-off against MDC's Chamisa, who scored 44.3%.
Chamisa also recently rejected an offer by Mnangagwa to recognise him as the leader of the opposition in parliament.
"They are saying they want me to go to parliament and I said: 'Are you sick?' I was elected to go to State House and not Parliament. Hold forth because we are not easily convinced. I have no fear because I know you are solidly behind me," Chamisa told his supporters.
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