Zimbabwe’s Mugabe says he is people’s choice for 2018 election

By Agencies
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was quoted as saying on Sunday that his ZANU-PF party and the people saw no viable successor to him for general elections in 2018.

“They want me to stand for elections, they want me to stand for elections everywhere in the party … The majority of the people feel that there is no replacement, successor who to them is acceptable, as acceptable as I am,” he said in comments to state media ahead of his 93rd birthday this coming week.

“The people, you know, would want to judge everyone else on the basis of President Mugabe as the criteria,” he said.

Mugabe has been in power since 1980 and in December his party confirmed him as its candidate for the next presidential election expected in mid-2018, when he will be 94.

“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,” Mugabe said.

Mugabe, known for his combative style, said he agreed with U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America for America” approach.

“When it comes to Donald Trump, on the one hand talking of American nationalism, well America for America, America for Americans – on that we agree. Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s economy is in trouble and banks only have enough cash in offshore accounts to finance about two weeks’ worth of the country’s imports, the central bank said on Wednesday.

Critics accuse Mugabe of wrecking one of Africa’s most promising economies through policies such as violent seizures of white-owned commercial farms and money printing. He and his party say the economy has been undermined by western powers.

Mugabe’s comments were published in the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper and the full interview – a tradition for Mugabe’s birthdays – will be broadcast on Zimbabwe state TV on Monday and Tuesday.

$2.5 million birthday

Meanwhile, The ruling party of Zimbabwe is reportedly looking to spend some $2.5 million on President Robert Mugabe’s 93rd birthday celebration on February 21, a media report has said.

“Each of the ten provinces is expected to raise $2.5 million towards.

“They expect to raise it through provincial structures, individuals, private companies, parastatals and local authorities,” Zanu PF party officials said.

However, opposition parties have attacked Mugabe for wasting money on extravagant revelry while “93% of Zimbabweans are wallowing in poverty caused by his incompetence and misrule”, NewZimbabwe.com reported.

Opposition parties said they are not surprised about the huge budget because Mugabe always “had a penchant for profligacy and wastefulness”.

Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T) national spokesperson Obert Gutu said Mugabe and the Zanu-Patriotic Front (PF) regime “have a satanic appetite for seeing the majority of Zimbabweans live in abject poverty and penury”.

“Just imagine what the sum of $2.5 million can do in buying scarce drugs and other medicines for our public hospitals.

“That amount of money should be diverted to the Department of Social Welfare where it can be used to buy food and other essentials that are badly needed by the poor and marginalised people in our country.

“Zimbabwe needs better leadership than what we are seeing from these people,” Gutu added.

MDC-T party spokesman Kurauone Chihwayi said: “A normal leader cannot be so reckless and extravagant to the extent of raiding state enterprises to celebrate his own birthday while millions are starving”.

“Our fellow citizens should boycott Mugabe birthday celebrations in protest of the man-made crisis and excessive looting of state resources by the Zanu PF administration.”


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