Zimbabwe's ousted deputy president Emmerson Mnangagwa File picture: AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

Harare - Zimbabwe's ousted deputy president Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday asked President Robert Mugabe to respect public opinion and step down and said he would only return home when his security was assured.

"The people of Zimbabwe have spoken with one voice and it is my appeal to President Mugabe that he should take heed of this clarion call by the people of Zimbabwe to resign, so that the country can move forward and preserve his legacy," Mnangagwa said in a statement.

Mnangagwa, who said he fled Zimbabwe because of a threat to his life after being purged from the ruling party, said he had been in contact with Mugabe and was invited to return but would not do so until his personal security could be guaranteed.

"I told the President that I would not return home now until I am satisfied of my personal security, because of the manner and treatment given to me upon being fired," he said in a statement. 

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