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Mugabe: Don't Blame Me For Ruling for Almost 36 Years ... I Don't Vote for Myself

FILE: President Robert Mugabe waits to address crowds gathered for Zimbabwe's Heroes Day commemorations in Harare, August 10, 2015.

President Robert Mugabe says people questioning his stay in power should blame Zimbabweans for electing him into office for almost 36 years.

In an interview with Japanese journalists, quoted by the state-controlled Herald newspaper, Mr. Mugabe said his election over the years is an indication that Zimbabweans want him to rule the nation.

The president, who is on an official visit to Japan, said, “If they (some people) don’t like my long stay in power they should criticize my people … I do not vote for myself into power.

“You just go to Zimbabwe now and ask the people whether I should stand down. They will be angry with you.”

President Mugabe further told the journalists, according to the Herald newspaper, that he will contest the next presidential election if he is in good health. The president stressed that he is currently in good health.

“At the moment I am the president that’s why (I am here). Do you see me as not fit? Why not contest two years later? Two years later is no time but only God knows what will happen in two years’ time, 2018. I don’t know, it will depend. If I am fit enough, yes, but if not fit enough I will not. My people will want me to be a candidate and they have already nominated me as a candidate in 2018.”

The 92-year-old Zimbabwean leader, who will be 94 in 2018, said his successor should be people-oriented and a person that is ready to defend the country against so-called neo-colonialism.

The opposition has in the past cried foul over his re-election claiming that the electoral body allegedly rigs elections in favour of Mr. Mugabe’s Zanu PF party. These allegations have been dismissed by the ruling party as baseless.