A leading war veteran in Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, has branded ex-President Robert Mugabe a sell-out for endorsing his one-time foe Nelson Chamisa's presidential bid in last week's heavily disputed election, the state-linked Herald newspaper reports.
Lazarus Nyoni - the provincial treasurer of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association - compared Mr Mugabe to the biblical Judas Iscariot for betraying Zanu-PF - the ruling party he helped form 55 years ago.
The newspaper quoted Mr Nyoni as saying at the funeral of liberation war heroine Ketty Dube:
The highest level of deception is when a once-respected liberation war fighter comes out and announces that he is voting for the MDC Alliance, the same party he used to chant slogans against.
Our own people used to hear stories of Judas Iscariot’s betrayal and they thought it’s a fairy tale.”
Mr Chamisa - the candidate of the MDC Alliance - lost the election to Zanu-PF flag-bearer Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mr Mnangagwa saw the election as vital to legitimising his rule after he ousted Mr Mugabe as president last year with the backing of the military.
Mr Mugabe had until then seen the MDC as a "puppet" of the UK, the former colonial power, and his security forces had beaten up and jailed MDC activists, including Mr Chamisa.
Some MDC leaders believe Mr Mugabe's support cost the MDC Alliance the election.
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