President Robert Mugabe says there is no suitable person to take over from him at the moment as some Zimbabweans still have confidence in him even if he turns 93 on Tuesday.
According to the independent NewsDay newspaper, which quoted excepts of yet-to-be aired interview of the Zimbabwean leader, Mr. Mugabe says he would rather cling on power than hand over power to his deputies – Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko – or any other person in the ruling Zanu PF party.
He is quoted as saying, “The majority of the people feel that there is no replacement, a successor, who to them is acceptable, as acceptable as I am.”
He also dismissed calls for him to step down. “The call to step down must come from my party, my party at congress, my party at central committee. But then what do you see? It’s the opposite,” he said in an interview published by Sunday Mail.
“They want me 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…”
Mnangagwa is being widely touted as the president’s heir apparent but Mr. Mugabe’s latest remarks appear to be shutting him out of the Zimbabwean leader’s succession race.
First Lady Grace Mugabe recently told a gathering that the president is so popular that he is likely to win any presidential election even if he is dead.
Mr. Mugabe is the ruling party’s presidential candidate in the 2018 general election.
MORE TO FOLLOW …