Zimbabwe' Mugabe warns politicians jostling for his post: “I am not dying yet”
HARARE, April 7 (Xinhua) — Zimbabwe’s 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe on Thursday warned cadres from his party who are eyeing his position to tune down the fierce succession politics as he is not yet out of the picture.
Addressing ten thousand veterans of liberation war who gathered in Harare for a meeting, Mugabe said there were some people within his Zanu-PF party who jostled for his position whenever they read from the newspapers that he had gone for medical treatment in Singapore.
“I am not going to die, to spite you,” he chuckled as he addressed the meeting called to discuss the war veterans’ welfare and the state of the ruling party.
However, Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, said he would relinquish power if asked to.
“If you say go I go, but if the people say no we still want you then I stay,” he told the war veterans.
He called for unity within the party in resisting imperial threats and acknowledged the support the country enjoyed from China, India and Japan in pushing for development, as the country faced tremendous challenges of economic slowdown.
Mugabe decried the culture of not repaying debts and urged his ministers and civil servants to honor their obligations.
The meeting came at a time there are fissures within the party caused by factionalism.
War veterans gave him their views on the state of the party and alluded to the arbitrary suspensions of members without due process.
They also want representation in the party’s highest decision-making organ, the central committee, and the highest decision-making organ between congresses, the Politburo.
In relation to party slogans, they said only those that referred to party organs and the president should be used, and no other living person should be praised.
Of late there have been slogans praising Mugabe’s wife, First Lady Grace Mugabe.
They also called for the vetting of people taking senior positions in the party, and that these should also receive ideological training which was now lacking and causing factionalism.
Concerning their welfare, the war veterans wanted access to health care, timely payment of school fees for their children, their children getting preference under the Presidential Scholarship Fund which sponsors university education mainly for the less privileged but talented children, and appointment of war veterans to ambassadorial to top government positions, among other requests.
Mugabe did not immediately respond to all the issues that were raised.