Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has announced that he has plans to retire – but won’t say when – while admitting that the country the country’s economy is crumbling.
Addressing veterans, which have dropped their support for the leader, Mugabe admitted that Zimbabwe was in a financial crisis, and hinted that he was ready to retire – but on his own terms.
Mugabe has always maintained that he would be Zimbabwe’s president until he dies – and if the ruling ZanuPF has its way, that may be how it goes.
According to the party, Mugabe will still contend the country’s 2018 elections – and if he is re-elected as president, he will only retire in 2023. At that point, Mugabe will be 99 years old.
Mugabe has seen waning support as groups such as the veterans claim that they are owed money by the state, however there are no funds available to pay them.
The president said he used his time in power to defeat the white colonialists, and has declared that particular war a victory on Zimbabwe’s part.
According to local economists and analysts, however, there is very little of value in Zimbabwe anymore, and it is unlikely that new leadership – if that were to ever happen – could reverse the damage done.
American investors are said to have zero interest in Zimbabwe, while any British investment is barely there anymore.
Banks are running out of money, and the drought which has hit most of sub-Saharan Africa has also had an impact, with a shortage of food and water adding to the country’s economic woes.
However, state media is reporting that support for Mugabe remains strong, saying that several provinces have expressed confidence in his leadership, and have endorsed him to continue as president.
Mugabe said that if and when he retires, it will be on his own terms, and he will “do it properly”, without elaborating. He did, however, say the country was at a critical time for regime change.
The piece of his speech relating to retirement has been translated by Africa Check, below.
“We are in a critical time of regime change. To think that we will be toppled by whites who say ‘we want to change the government of Zimbabwe’ – which we fought for all these years, will we simply yield? I say no. The British [and] Americans are working hand in hand, but I think we have defeated them. So change will come in good time.
“If I have to retire, let me retire properly; people must sit down and discuss it cordially and not go to traditional healers such as that woman did [former vice- president Joice Mujuru], leaving us and calling themselves Zimbabwe [People] First [the party Mujuru started after she was expelled from ZANU-PF by Mugabe]. Ah, that’s just not OK.”