Zimbabwe’s First Lady, Grace Mugabe, says her 92-year-old husband is so popular that millions of people will vote for him even if he dies before the forthcoming crucial presidential election.
Speaking in what is believed to be a kick-off of the campaign for the ruling Zanu PF ahead of next year’s local government, parliamentary and presidential elections, the 51-year-old first lady told thousands of party supporters in Buhera, Manicaland province, that her husband, who turns 93 next week, is an enigma.
The ruling Zanu PF party has resolved to field him as its presidential candidate and at 94 Mr. Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, will be the world’s oldest president - if he wins.
The first lady, who has become increasingly visible in politics, also accused some ruling Zanu-PF party officials of plotting to take over from her husband and said that if he dies supporters should put his name on the ballot to show their love for him.
She said, “Millions of people have in the past voted for President Robert Mugabe and millions more are going to vote for him in the 2018 general elections. Even if God decides to take away Mugabe we will have his name on the ballot and millions of people will vote for his corpse. I tell you, this will be a way of showing how popular Mugabe is. So, let us not fool ourselves by trying to get rid of him now.”
Obert Gutu, spokesperson of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai, said Mrs. Mugabe’s remarks are not surprising as the race to succeed 92 year-old President Mugabe is intensifying in the faction-riddled ruling Zanu PF party. He told VOA’s Blessing Zulu the first lady is trying to even strike fear in the hearts of Zimbabweans, who want political transformation in the country.