By Marcus Mushonga
Harare — ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe has insisted he would not be ceding power despite his advanced age, protests from the opposition and infighting within his Zanu (PF) party.
Ahead of his 93rd birthday today (Tuesday), the veteran leader claimed he would have resigned long back there were millions who loved him to continue at the position he assumed in 1980 at independence.
“They want me (Zanu PF) to stand for elections. Of course, if I feel that I can’t do it anymore, I will say so to my party so that they relieve me. But, for now, I think I can’t say so,” said Mugabe dismissing claims that he was unwilling to continue ruling.
The latest defiance comes at a time the majority of the people’s 15 million population and opposition parties such as the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) and Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) were calling for Mugabe to quit politics citing his advanced age-related ill health and the economic decline. He has repeatedly refuted the reports but frequents Asia for checkups.
It is highly likely he will run for another term during polls in 2018.
This past weekend, his increasingly influential wife Grace gave her a superfluous endorsement saying if he died before polls, the party could field his corpse and still win.
She claimed current leaders tipped to succeed him would lose polls even against a chicken.
The First Lady is reportedly leading a faction that wants her to succeed Mugabe while Mugabe’s deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, leads another.
It is believed a corrupt clique in Zanu (PF) wants Mugabe to remain in power so they continue looting state coffers.