HARARE-- Nelson Chamisa, leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the MDC Alliance, left his supporters stunned when he unwittingly revealed here over the weekend that he is working with former president Robert Mugabe to strengthen support for the party in Monday's general election, the first in the country since independence which will not feature Mugabe.

Chamisa had previously denied links to the former president, who ruled this southern African country for 37 years.

Addressing his final campaign rally ahead of the polls, Chamisa said that with Mugabe's support, his MDC Alliance party would "run over" the ruling Zanu PF party, which voted to recall Mugabe last year after he ousted his then vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa and tried to install his wife, Grace, as his successor.

My focus is to make sure that we score. So when Zanu PF disowned Mugabe, I embraced him so that he passes me the ball so I can score. What is important is to score; it does not matter who passes the ball,

Chamisa said.

Claiming that victory was certain for his MDC Alliance, Chamisa said he was targeting not less than 60 per cent of the total votes. Change is inevitable, victory is certain, change is unstoppable, he declared.

There will be no run-off in Zimbabwe but there will be a run over of Zanu PF. Come next week, President Mnangagwa will staying at his farm in Kwekwe and leading the opposition, he said, adding that his supporters should go out and vote as his party has anti-rigging mechanisms.

Chamisa added: We have 44 000 polling agents to ensure that no one steals this election.

President Mnangagwa, who took over from Mugabe last November after parliament endorsed his appointment after Mugabe was forced to resign, has promised to deliver free, fair,credible and

transparent elections.

Mugabe on Sunday threw his weight behind Chamisa, saying he is the only one with the capacity to dislodge the ruling Zanu PF from power in Monday's vote. A record 23 candidates are in the race for Zimbabwe's presidency in this year's harmonised election in which Chamisa and Mnangagwa are the leading contenders.

Addressing the media at his residence here, Mugabe said although he had never met Chamisa, he would vote for him. Mugabe's comments appear to confirm rumours of an electoral pact between the former leader, who is bitter at being forced to resign last year.

On several occasions ahead of the elections Chamisa hinted about working with Mugabe, the latest on Saturday when he addressed his final rally in Harare.