WASHINGTON DC —
Zimbabweans have expressed mixed views over President Robert Mugabe’s remarks that he remains popular in a nation that he has ruled for almost 36 years with the opposition urging him to step down for failing to properly run the country.
Mr. Mugabe made the remarks in Japan where he is on an official state visit. He also told Japanese journalists that he will contest the 2018 presidential election. The president will be 94 in 2018.
His supporters say President Mugabe got it right as he was given the mandate by a majority vote to lead the country in the 2013 general elections. The opposition claims that the polls were allegedly rigged by the ruling Zanu PF party.
For perspective Studio 7 reached Zanu PF lawmaker, Joseph Tshuma, and Zapu member. Strike Mnkandla.
Tshuma said President Mugabe is popular in Zimbabwe and is currently exercising his constitutional mandate to govern the country.
“I think it must be pretty obvious and common knowledge (that) political leadership and leaders are put by people through votes. So, the president is simply alluding to a fact that is there going back to the elections of 2013 where he was resoundingly elected into that office … So he was elected by the people not by certain individuals but the generality of the population in Zimbabwe.”
He noted that those who are urging him to go were part of the regime change agenda being “supported” by the West.
“In other words you (those who think that it’s time for the president to go) are implying that people are stupid in putting him into that office.”
Reacting to these remarks, Mnkandla said, “I think that if the will of the people is expressed one would need to cut office terms to that a person who is in charge is given a specific time to rule. If the person is popular he can then be asked by people to run for another term (depending on constitutional provisions).”
He said it is clear that the president was not elected by the majority and people right now want him to leave claiming that he is responsible for the country’s current economic decay.
Mr. Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe for almost 36 years.