Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, 91, has hinted he will retire in the future in a speech he gave to veterans of Zimbabwe’s struggle for independence.
He did not say when he would go, but he said Zimbabwe was facing an economic crisis and he would retire “properly”. President Mugabe has in the past promised not to retire as long the people want him to rule.
He was speaking to war veterans who claim they are owed money by the state, which can neither fund them nor pay civil servants on time.
President Mugabe told the “war collaborators” that he believed he had now “defeated… the British and Americans…” and that he understood times were difficult in Zimbabwe. “We are in a critical time… for regime change.”
Zanu-PF has said President Mugabe will be its candidate in the 2018 elections and will only retire in 2023, when he is 99. Mugabe told his old friend Cephas Msipa four months ago that he would never retire.
President Mugabe also said that there were factions within Zanu-PF, but that they would come together ahead of the next elections.
Zimbabwe is so broke it has largely run out of the cash it uses – US dollars – and later this week, a new currency called Bond Notes will be used in some bank exporters’ bank accounts.