Mugabe Announces Plans To Retire, Says It’s A Critical Time For Regime Change
Until now, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has insisted he will die in office, but over the weekend the 92-year-old leader announced for the first time that he plans to retire. He did not say when.
Mugabe was addressing war veterans when he made the announcement, according to Business Tech.
Veterans, civil servants and other groups have dropped support for Mugabe, claiming the government owes them money.
Mugabe, who has been president for 29 years, admitted that Zimbabwe was in a financial crisis and suggested he was ready to retire, but said it would be done “properly,” and on his own terms.
The president told veterans he had used his time in power to successfully defeat white colonialists — a victory on Zimbabwe’s part.
Local media say support remains strong for Mugabe. Several provinces have endorsed him to continue as president in the next elections, scheduled for 2018.
Local economists and analysts, however, say the country’s economy is almost worthless and it’s unlikely that new leadership could reverse the damage, Business Tech reported.
British investment is almost non-existent, U.S. investors have no interest in Zimbabwe, and banks are running out of money. The drought exacerbated food and water shortages, adding to economic hardships.
Mugabe appeared to be asking for input from veterans, Bulawayo 24 reported.
“If I am making blunders you should tell me… I will go. If I have to retire, let me retire properly,” he told a handful of veterans on Saturday.
Officials of the ruling Zanu-PF party said they want Mugabe to be their candidate in the 2018 election, according to Eyewitness News.
Four out of Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces said they want him as their candidate in the 2018 elections. The other six are expected to follow suit.
Mugabe has acknowledged dissent in his party, saying those plotting to succeed him are unhappy that he hasn’t died yet.
He said he understood times were difficult in Zimbabwe. “We are in a critical time… for regime change,” he told veterans, according to African News Agency in an Independent Online report.
The war is over
Mugabe called the veterans “war collaborators” and said he had now “defeated… the British and Americans…”
Mugabe often tells supporters that Zimbabwe has unexplored resources. Local geologists and others say otherwise. Zimbabwe has water and electricity shortages.
Four months ago, Mugabe told his friend Cephas Msipa that he would never retire, Independent Online reported. Zanu-PF said Mugabe will be its candidate in the 2018 elections and will retire in 2023, when he 99.
Mugabe promised unity in the ruling Zanu-PF before the next elections. Veteran Zimbabwe political analyst Brian Raftopoulos said the chances of that are slim.
The country is so broke that it has run out of cash — it uses U.S. dollars. Later this week, a new currency called bond notes will start showing up in some exporters’ bank accounts.