President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe has attacked presidential succession rumors, accusing the instigators of wishing him dead.
President Mugabe is Zimbabwe’s oldest leaders at 92 years, and has ruled the southern African country since its independence from Britain in 1980. As the president gets older, he doesn’t seem likely to be stepping down anytime soon. Also every foreign trip the president embarks on has been laden with illness rumors. This has led various concerned citizens to speculate on his health, thereby churning out succession rumors.
Former Vice President of Zimbabwe, Joice Mujuru was rumored to be his successor before she was sacked by the ZANU-PF party in 2014. The First lady, Mrs Grace Mugabe has also been rumored to succeed her husband but President Mugabe has cleared the air saying that his successor must be chosen democratically and that his wife will not inherit the role automatically.
He dispelled the succession rumors during a meeting with about 10,000 veterans at the City Sports Centre in Harare who fought in Zimbabwe’s independence war in the 1970s.
“You then see a stampede now, they will be saying the president is dying. ‘I am not dying, shame on you’,” Mugabe said during the first ever such meeting with the veterans.
“I am there at the mercy of the people. If the people say no, go, I go. But if the people say no, we still want you, I stay on,”
Mugabe said this at a sports center in Harare.
Prior to President Mugabe’s meeting with the veterans, the people had thought it could lead to the end of the ZANU-PF party if the veterans were opposed to Mugabe’s rule.
It turned out that they were in support of the 92 year old. They also tabled some grievances, requesting for positions in government and state-owned firms, diplomatic positions, and at least a fifth of all farmland and mining deals.
The veterans also requested to have their monthly allowance increased but the president declined stating the lack of resources to fulfill the request. He however agreed to compensate evicted white farmers and reduce public sector wages.
The president also went on a long discourse on Zimbabwe’s debt record, stating that debts have to be repaid if the country is to receive funding from China, Japan and India. He also told the war veterans to conduct themselves like they were taught during war times.
“After the war, you must have the same discipline and not open your mouth to insult leaders. We won’t have it! Elders won’t say anything, but will quietly whisper that you’ll get what’s coming your way. Don’t ever do that because you have a position. I never do that.”