Mugabe accuses rivals of plotting coup

2012-02-19 17:35

Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe accused his political rivals of trying to use constitutional reforms to get rid of him, but warned that his Zanu-PF party would reject any changes threatening its future, the Sunday Mail newspaper reported.

Mugabe, who turns 88 on Tuesday and was forced into a coalition government following disputed elections in 2008, is seeking to extend his 32 years in power in an early poll that he wants held this year, a year ahead of schedule.

In an interview with the state-owned newspaper, Mugabe charged that lawyers hired to draft a new national charter and rivals from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had "erred" by including issues not gathered from a public survey.

Asked about clauses in the first draft that could bar him from running for another term, Mugabe said although he had not yet read the document, such a proposal and the inclusion of gay rights would not be accepted by his party.

"The issue is that what is not the view of the people and not in the present constitution or has not been discussed, we will reject," he said.

"Such a constitution would be thrown out by Zanu-PF. We would not accept that. They erred if it is like that," he said, branding the MDC cowards for trying to exclude him from the polls.

A draft constitution published early this month trims presidential powers and limits terms to a maximum of 10 years, barring Mugabe who has been in office since the southern African country's independence from Britain in 1980.

Mugabe has been nominated as his Zanu-PF party's candidate and intends to run in an election he wants held in 2012. Under the power-sharing deal with Tsvangirai, elections must be held by next year with a new constitution drawn up ahead of the poll.

Mocked Tsvangirai and the MDC

A referendum on the new constitution is expected to be held later this year.

In the interview, Mugabe mocked Tsvangirai and the MDC as impotent for protesting his recent reappointment of security commanders accused by the opposition of blocking democratic reforms.

"We don't pay attention to that because they are like barking dogs with no bite, and every village has such dogs," he said in the local Shona language.

There was no immediate comment from the MDC on Mugabe's interview in which he also attacked Finance Minister Tendai Biti, a senior MDC figure, for slowing Zimbabwe's economic recovery by starving the key farming sector of funds.

"He makes some decisions and those decisions are not always of a nature that is promotive economically," he said.

In the past Biti has denied accusations that the MDC is deliberately withholding state loans to farmers from Mugabe's party who grabbed properties from white-owned commercial farms under Zanu-PF's controversial land redistribution programme.

Biti maintains that Zimbabwe's slow recovery from a decade of severe economic recession caused by Mugabe's policies is largely due to delays by Zanu-PF in adopting reforms.

Loss-making state firms

These include privatising loss-making state firms across the economy and a damaging drive to force foreign-owned firms to sell a majority shareholding to local blacks.

Mugabe told the Sunday Mail Zanu-PF had chosen him to continue because none of his potential successors in the party could win an election against the opposition.

He said eventually he would groom a successor but was not doing so now to avoid worsening divisions in Zanu-PF.

The interview made no mention of Mugabe's health despite regular local media reports that the veteran leader is receiving regular treatment for prostate cancer in the Far East.

Asked how he would like to be remembered, Mugabe said: "Just for what I am. A man, a lover of my people and a fighter of the oppressors of my people."

  • Fred - 2012-02-19 17:52

    Robert, everyone wants you to go. The longer you hold on, the worse it will get. Can you not see that thirty years in power is totally against international democratic norms?

      Annette - 2012-02-19 18:06

      Then his wife will take over, same same

  • spartanx93 - 2012-02-19 17:52

    Mugabe you senile old dog......

  • Alan - 2012-02-19 17:55

    Mugabe may accuse others of plotting a coup......the rest of the civilised world would compliment them and praise every effort to rid the world of that tyrant.

  • Vegi - 2012-02-19 17:59

    Don't worry MR Mugabe. No country bordering us can have a coup. We crushed the Lesotho Coup. We will crush any western sponsored coup in Zimbabwe.

      Christian Johannes Denyschen - 2012-02-19 18:37

      Ag please vegi I'm sure I'm speaking for about every one on this form that we're tiered of your racist comments, where in this article does it say anything about a western sponsored coup? Its his own people that wants him gone.

      Anthony - 2012-02-19 19:02

      Mugabe; the most insecure dictator in the world !!!!

      Ben - 2012-02-19 19:06

      Please forgive Vegi. It is not his fault that he has difficulty understanding politics and that each politician is in the business for his own personal gain.

  • march54 - 2012-02-19 18:04

    Mugabe needs to let go before the country goes down the plug hole. He has taken away the freedom and dignity of a once proud nation. He has stripped them of education, healthcare and a stable economy. Step down now.

  • sefeddt - 2012-02-19 18:31

    "Just for what I am. A man, a lover of my people and a fighter of the oppressors of my people." Thousands were killed in Matabeleland by N Korean trained troops, how is that "lover of your people". Thant makes you a fighter not lover of "your" people.

  • Michael Kleber - 2012-02-19 18:40

    Well Robert how else do they get rid of you ? they have tried with the ballot and beat you but you refused to go , you have more than overstayed your welcome and have enriched yourself beyond belief and ruined your country , in fact getting rid of you is the best thing for Zimbabwe

  • Lavida Koekemoer - 2012-02-19 18:43

    Sick bastard

  • sandy.langenstrass - 2012-02-19 18:45

    You should have had a successful coup carried out against you(Mugabe),30years ago, then your country would have stood a chance. What I hate you are influencing Malema to do the same here. Strange how dictators like to pull others down with them.Just hope Malema won't go to Mugabe's birthday, and have nonsense spoken into his head.

  • Kusleg - 2012-02-19 18:52

    And there were 10 representatives from your own party involved in that "sham" draft; they are also plotting against you Mr Comrade President; including the multitudes of masses who gave them the idea. Happy 88th birthday you come next Tuesday groot man..!

  • Chappies ZA - 2012-02-19 19:03

    Lover of my people .... What a joke no wonder 4 million Zimbo's live in SA.... I wonder why?

  • Peter - 2012-02-19 20:37

    Mugabe said: "Just for what I am. A man, a lover of my people and a fighter of the oppressors of my people."I believe Mugabe will be remembered for oppressing his own people. Many have left the country, many have been killed, others tortured and majority are still suffering in the country right now while only a few are enjoying. By Pythias Makonese

  • Cosmas - 2012-02-20 11:33

    u r such a joke mr. so called president, u want 2 eat d food and the plate as well, agh mara, i gues what u need is a mental check honestly, your comments are jus disgusting when real leaders r seriously trying 2 rebuild what you have destroyed under the pretext "Zimbabwe will never be colonised again", ohh please you can't fool us anymore. Elections can only be held next year and you are not contesting.....kwa kwa kwaaa

  • Lesvokli - 2012-02-20 12:23

    The world is waiting patiently............thats all im going to say!

  • Zenzele - 2012-02-20 12:48

    Zimbabweans needs to stand up and remove this senile dictator. The only thing which can save them from this human eater isa "ZIMBABWE SPRING" like what happened in Eygpt. Why can't they Stand up!!!

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