HARARE – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Thursday accused unnamed officials of his own party of trying to push him into retiring and likened them to the biblical betrayer Judas.
The 93-year-old Mugabe, one of the world’s oldest leaders, has been in power since Zimbabwe, then called Rhodesia, gained independence from Britain in 1980. He intends to seek another five-year term at elections due next year.
In public, his party, ZANU-PF, has rallied behind its ageing leader. But in private its members are deeply divided over his continued leadership and who will eventually take over from him.
Mugabe, who has repeatedly said his party will choose his successor when the time comes, said he was going nowhere and accused some party officials of supporting him during the day while plotting against him behind his back.
“Others are like those that Jesus spoke about during his last supper, when he said ‘some of you eating with me here shall betray me’. The Judas Iscariot. They are here among us,” Mugabe said during the burial of a party member.
“They want to cause leadership change … for the president to step down. I did not grab power. I was chosen by the people. It’s the people’s throne, so I don’t want with it,” he said to loud cheers from some party members.
ZANU-PF is divided into two factions. One backs Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to immediately succeed Mugabe. Another is rallying behind Mugabe’s wife, Grace, and also want the ageing ruler to be president for life.
“When the day comes I will say thank you to my Zimbabwean family and I will step down so you can choose my successor. But for now I am the one in charge,” Mugabe said.
The southern African nation is gripped by a shortage of foreign exchange that has forced some businesses to buy US dollars on the black market, a situation blamed for a recent spike in prices and shortages of some basic goods.
But Mugabe, without giving evidence, accused some people of manipulating the currency to “trigger inflation and cause panic buying.”
more recommended stories
Zimbabwe finds first omicron case after announcing quarantine
Zimbabwe has identified its first case.
SA president Cyril Ramaphosa chides African states for Covid travel bans
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has.
New Covid Variant From Southern Africa; calls for travel bans
South Africa and a number of.
Citizen initiative to buy Zimbabwe opposition leader Chamisa armoured car raises US$84,000
BULAWAYO – A citizen-led initiative to.
What is it with Prophets and Rape?
The question has always been asked.
Eight killed killed in ZUPCO bus and fuel tanker crash
Eight people died on the spot,.
EFF Leader Malema Denounces Calls for Deportation of Millions of Zimbabweans
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party leader,.
Zimbabwe vice president’s ailing former wife Marry Mubaiwa sent to prison
Zimbabwe’s Vice President Constantino Guveya Dominic.