Despite reports of splits in the Zanu-PF and hectic diplomatic efforts to persuade Mugabe to step aside gracefully, Mutasa was adamant the ruling party was fully behind the 84-year-old.
"We will take him and carry him wherever we go," he said after a five-hour politburo meeting.Veterans' support
Mugabe also received a show of support from the country's so-called war veterans - many of whom were born after independence in 1980 -who vowed to "defend the country's sovereignty" in the aftermath of the vote.
Jabulani Sibanda, the veterans' leader, hit out at "illegal" MDC claims of victory and said "the spirit of our people is being provoked".
|The MDC claims its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai,|
has won the election [AFP]
"We will be forced to defend our sovereignty," Sibanda said after 400 veterans had staged a silent march through central Harare.
Although a run-off has to be held before April 19, some MDC sources allege Mugabe plans to extend that to 90 days to give him time to regroup.
"I am not aware of such a plan, but no matter how much they may want to buy time or beat up people or employ other dirty tricks, the people of Zimbabwe have already made a choice by voting for a candidate [Tsvangirai] that will take the country forward," Chamisa said.