'I'll jump for joy (if my legs hold out)': Ageing Mugabe acknowledges frailty

2017-07-23 09:00
President Robert Mugabe (File: AFP)

President Robert Mugabe (File: AFP)

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Lupane - In a rare acknowledgement of his frailty, President Robert Mugabe has said he will jump for joy at the loyalty and love shown by his party’s youth wing, but if he can’t jump physically, he’ll use his heart.

"I am happy, I jump about. If I can’t do it with my legs I’ll do it with my heart,” the 93-year-old president told a youth rally in western Zimbabwe on Friday.

He commended the youths for showing "no desire at the moment to be successors when the president is still there".

'I am happy'

As he grows ever more frail, so the jockeying for positions by senior officials within the ruling Zanu-PF party becomes more intense.

But Mugabe said that wasn’t the case with the youths. "My heart is overwhelmed by your love and confidence in me… I am happy," he said in comments broadcast on state ZBC TV.

Since June, Mugabe has held four youth "interface rallies". The one in Lupane on Friday had to be postponed by a week after the president made an unexpected visit to Singapore for a medical check-up. Officials insist he only goes there for specialised eye treatment.

Learn from youths

Mugabe is counting on youths to shore up support for his re-election bid next year. Support from his former die-hard loyalists, the war veterans, appears to be on the wane.

The president said senior party officials needed to emulate the unity shown by the youths.

"This is a phenomenon that the elders must grasp and learn," he said. 

Read more on:    zanu-pf  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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