By Staff Reporter
Harare, March 04, 2016 – PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe says he will not bow to internal and external pressure to appoint his successor but insists he will not brook any open talk about his own successor while he was still President.
The Zimbabwean leader was being interviewed by the ZBC during his customary birthday interviews with the state broadcaster.
The interviews usually covered a number of areas to do with the 92 year-old leader’s private and public like.
Asked if the current infighting within his Zanu PF party would now push him to identify a successor, Mugabe appeared irritated by talk of his successor when he was still in charge.
“Why a successor? I am still there; why do you want a successor?”
“Shall I punch you so that you can feel that I am still there?” Mugabe said to a visibly embarrassed Tazzen Mandizvidza, his interviewer.
However, President Mugabe, who said he shall live up to a hundred years, said it was taboo for leaders to impose their own successors.
“I am no authority to appoint someone as president after me. I don’t have that authority, where do I get it from?” Mugabe said.
The Zimbabwean leader, who denied claims he was grooming his wife, Grace for presidency, said it was instead, the business of party members during elective congresses to find their own choice of successor.
He declared it was “ridiculous” and “not part of our culture” to impose leaders.
Mugabe effectively barred any open discussions around his own succession adding that he never presented himself for re-election in 2013 so that he could serve part of his term.
“When we went to congress in 2013 and the people said you are the candidate 2013, I did not say I was a candidate to retire; only to retire mid-way. I never said that,” he said.
Mugabe said he had nothing to do with his 50 year-old wife’s 2014 decision to join mainstream politics, adding this was entirely her own decision which she reached with fellow Zanu PF women. Grace is now Zanu PF women’s league secretary.
“I told her it’s entirely up to her; if she wanted to join politics, well and good, it’s rough going, I don’t want you to say I said, tomorrow,” he said.
Mugabe also said he was not panicking over his former deputy Joice Mujuru’s decision to form a party to challenge for his job, dismissing her and her allies as a bunch of politicians only motivated by a desire to push him out of power at the expense of issues relevant to the well being of ordinary Zimbabweans.
The veteran leader, who wants to run for yet another term in 2018, also dismissed the possibility of being defeated by the envisaged grand coalition among opposition forces.
“If you put zero plus zero plus zero plus zero, grand zeros, what do they amount to? You are afraid of them?
“Don’t they even amount to eggs if they were one egg plus another, plus another and another, another I would say well, at least I have four breakfasts.”
Turning to a recent government decision to boot out diamond mining firms in Chiadzwa, Mugabe said his administration has not realised even $2 billion since mining operations started in the area in 2009 and yet almost $15 billion could have exchanged hands among the companies and those they were trading the gems with.