President Robert Mugabe railed against unnamed Zanu PF elements whom he claimed were formenting party divisions and plotting to dethrone him from power.
Addressing thousands at his belated birthday celebrations in Matabeleland South’s Matobo District, the weary 93-year-old also said the warring ruling party could stage an extraordinary congress to choose his successor if he decided to retire.
“If Zanu PF says I should go I will … For your own information, I never canvassed for any position, I rose up to my position … let the people judge for themselves … We don’t want imposition (of leaders) at all,” Mugabe said.
“People have said that I should choose a successor but that is what is called imposition. I don’t want and will never impose. This is the job of congress to choose those who will then come up and the party will elect,” he said.
“Whatever position you seek must be a position you get upon a proper election by the people … People who are busy forming their own groupings saying VaMugabe must go I ask myself where should I go,” Mugabe thundered.
“Let me refer now to the unending problem of division within the party. We want a party which is tight … The party, as I said, is based on a party constitution and the party constitution provides how people can get elected from one position to another.
“So why why do you want to try and circumvent the constitution? Haunganzvengese constitution se bhora kuti uwane chigaro. Aiwa, hatina kumboita party yakadaro (you don’t circumvent the constitution to get into leadership. The party has never worked like that),” he added.
Mugabe spoke as Zanu PF’s ugly tribal, factional and succession wars have gotten worse over the past few weeks, with the ruling party split between two distinct camps — Team Lacoste, which is rallying behind Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s presidential aspirations, and the Generation 40 (G40) faction, which is stridently against the Midlands godfather’s presidential ambitions.
Speaking before Mugabe, Zanu PF youth league chairperson Kudzanai Chipanga also accused some party bigwigs and government ministers of plotting to remove Mugabe from office while pretending to love him during the day.
Without also revealing the names of the ministers he was referring to, the ex-party deputy for youth affairs said the nonagenarian must appoint non-political ministers.
“We want the appointment of non-political ministers so that they can lead some economic development ministries. The current economic development ministers are overwhelmed. They are expected to turn around the economy, to work in their constituencies and also work for the party,” Chipanga said.
“Given the calibre of some current ministers, just after you appoint them, they will then plot to remove you from power.
“They take 95 percent of the money for development to fund the process of removing you from power,” he roared further.
Chipanga also repeated his controversial statement that the nonagenarian must be declared life president.
“As youths, we want to declare you the life president. We want to go to our party congresses for choosing the vice presidents and other members … Youths belong to … Mugabe and his wife. We want your birthday to be celebrated like what people do on Christmas Day. The day must be declared as a public holiday before 2018,” he said.
“Ministers who are responsible for declaring this day must not come to this event next year if they fail to declare it a holiday,” Chipanga said further.