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Zimbabwe’s president offers to punch reporter ‘to the floor’ as a reminder that he is still the leader despite his 92 years

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Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe
‘Want me to punch you?’ says Mugabe at TV interviewer’s retirement question
“Grooming a successor, is it an inheritance?” he asked. “In a democratic party you don’t want leaders appointed that way. They have to be appointed properly by the people. Succession is not part of our culture.”

“Do you want me to punch you to the floor to realize I am still there?” So said Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, 92, to a TV interviewer who asked him about his retirement and who might replace him.
“Why ‘successor’ when I am still there?” Mugabe said in the interview was broadcast on Thursday night. “Why do you want a successor?”


Joice Mujuru Zimbabwe’s former vice president has launched a manifesto and is mounting a serious challenge to the 92-year-old’s rule

Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since the country was formed in 1980 from the ashes of white-ruled Rhodesia, said he had no plans to hand over power and ruled out grooming his politically ambitious wife, Grace, as his chosen successor.
“Grooming a successor, is it an inheritance?” he asked. “In a democratic party you don’t want leaders appointed that way. They have to be appointed properly by the people. Succession is not part of our culture.”
Mugabe turned 92 on 21 February amid fierce squabbling in the ruling Zanu-PF party in anticipation of his succession.
Still, he defended his wife’s entry into politics and criticised people for badmouthing her.

Robert and Grace Mugabe2.jpgRobert Mugabe and first lady, Grace Mugabe

On Thursday, spokesman Simon Khaya Moyo of the ruling Zanu-PF party announced the suspension from the party of cabinet minister Chris Mutsvangwa and several other officials on allegations of disrespecting the first lady.
In the interview, Mugabe said mining companies recently kicked out of Marange diamond fields in eastern Zimbabwe “robbed us of our wealth”, claiming billions of dollars were siphoned in gem smuggling.
Some of the firms have gone to court challenging the order for them to leave the diamond-rich area.
Mugabe is currently facing the prospect of achallange from Joice Mujuru, Zimbabwe’s former vice-president, who launched a new party on Tuesday to challenge Mugabe, promising to revive the economy and repair strained relations with the west.
Mugabe, 92, has been president since 1987. Mujuru, 60, was his deputy for a decade, and was seen as his likely successor until he fired her in 2014, accusing her of leading a plot to oust him.
At the launching of her  the new Zimbabwe People First party, in Harare recently, her manifesto promised to bring jobs and review the ruling Zanu-PF party’s divisive black economic empowerment laws, which critics say have scared off investors.
She said she was open to alliances with other opposition groups before the 2018 presidential elections.
“Today we confirm our existence as a viable, inclusive homegrown political party,” Mujuru, she said to cheers from supporters on Tuesday. “We are not fighting one man but a system, that system which is unjust.”
Zanu-PF national commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, described Mujuru’s party as a “gathering of losers”.

 

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