Harare - Two months after pushing aside his former boss in a military takeover, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa still carefully maintains that Robert Mugabe made no mistakes while he was in power.
The new Zimbabwe leader does, however, repeat the line that those around the former president took advantage of his advanced years to usurp some of his powers.
Woke up under house arrest
Mugabe, 93, had been in power for 37 years when he woke up to find he was under house arrest by the military last November. He was eventually persuaded to step down to allow the former vice president to take over – even though Mugabe had recently sacked him.
Mnangagwa, 75, has said he’ll hold free and fair elections later this year.
Asked by journalists from Russia’s Sputnik news agency whether there were any mistakes Mugabe made that he would not want to repeat, Mnangagwa replied: "No, the president never made any mistakes."
Mnangagwa repeated his claim that a small cabal around Mugabe's wife Grace had taken advantage of the former president’s advancing years. That's a reference to the G40 faction of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party that was bitterly opposed to Mnangagwa's Lacoste faction.
Until the military takeover on November 15, G40 appeared to have the upper hand, ready to take over power should Mugabe die or step down.
"We were having persons (other than the president) who were making executive decisions, which is against the constitution of the country," Mnangagwa told Sputnik. He said that "hundreds and hundreds of thousands" had marched in support of the military takeover in protest against this.
"Our people reacted to people usurping power, which is not given to them by the constitution, so this was corrected by the masses of Zimbabwe," he said.