As he turns 93 President Robert Mugabe says there is no viable alternative candidate to him for Zimbabwe’s general election in 2018.
Mugabe told the Zimbabwean Broadcasting Corporation in a television interview pre-recorded on Friday (February 17) and aired on Monday (February 20) that if he felt he couldn’t do the job anymore he would tell his party.
“But for now I think, I can’t say so. The majority of the people feel that there is no replacement actually. No successor who to them is acceptable, as acceptable as I am,” he said.
Mugabe has been in power in the southern African country 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.
Mugabe, known for his combative style, said he agreed with U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America for America” approach and said that sanctions imposed on a number of Zimbabwean officials, including himself, were introduced by former president Barrack Obama not by Trump.
“I don’t know, give him time, give him time. He might, he might come up with better policies and even free us from the thrall of sanctions which we have suffered from, for so long,” he said speaking of Trump.
The state-run Sunday Mail newspaper reported that Mugabe said Trump might review the sanctions imposed on Mugabe and members of his inner circle by Washington in 2003 over alleged rights violations. The sanctions were extended by the Obama administration.
No reason was given as to why Mugabe felt Trump might re-examine sanctions and his direct comments on the matter were not published.
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.