'Shame on you, I'm not dying', Mugabe tells potential successors

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 9:22 PM

Africa'south oldest boss at ninety-second years, Mugabe has held power since independence from Britain in one thousand nine hundred-eightieth and says his heir should be chosen democratically and that his wife won't automatically inherit the role.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Thursday accused potential successors for wishing him deceased and told ruling ZANU-PF supporters to unite against foreign enemies he said wanted to demolish the Southern African nation.

Africa'south oldest boss at ninety-second years, Mugabe has held power since independence from Britain in one thousand nine hundred-eightieth and says his heir should be chosen democratically and that his wife won't automatically inherit the role.

Mugabe told a meeting of about 10.000 veterans of Zimbabwe's one thousand nine hundred seventy independence war that his frequent trips to Malaysia and Singapore had fed newspaper reports that he was ill and sometimes dying, stoking succession fights in ZANU-PF.

"You then look a stampede now, they'll be saying the president is dying. 'I'm not dying, shame on you'," Mugabe said during the first ever such meeting with the veterans.

"I'm there at the mercy of the people. If the people declare no, go, I go. But if the people declare no, we still wish you, I stay on," said Mugabe at a sports middle in Harare.

Thursday'south meeting came at a time of high tensions in ZANU-PF as party executive position themselves for a post-Mugabe era.

Local media had reported the meeting could split ZANU-PF, particularly after Mugabe said latest mo the veterans had indicated they wanted him to retire. [nL5N16Q4S1]

Instead, veterans pledged their loyalty to Mugabe, but also presented a list of grievances and demands for top positions in government and state-owned firms, diplomatic posts and at minimum a fifth of all farmland and mining concessions.

The veterans, 30.000 in total, also wish their monthly allowances increased from $260. But Mugabe said the government would only meet such demands if it'd the resources.

The latest time Mugabe caved into demands from veterans was on Nov. fourteen one thousand nine hundred ninety-seven when the Zimbabwean dollar crashed by seventy-two % after the government announced unbudgeted allowances for veterans. That day became known as 'Black Friday'.

But without balance of payment support or foreign credit, Zimbabwe cannot afford such demands. It already runs its budget hand-to-mouth, leaving it with number money for infrastructure.

Mugabe has agreed to major reforms, such as compensation for evicted white farmers and a huge reduction in public sector salary in a tender to woo back international lenders and to have portion of its $8 billion in foreign debt canceled.

Mugabe said Zimbabwe'south horrible record with debtors was holding back potential funding from China, Japan and India.

"We've a sickness in Zimbabwe where we just wish to get and forget that debts are supposed to be repaid. It'south a very horrible culture," said Mugabe in a monologue that lasted ninety minutes.

(Editing by James Macharia and Richard Balmforth)

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