First, it was Blair & Brown on regime change, now it's Cameron & Hague – Mugabe

PRESIDENT ROBERT Mugabe says he is prepared to surrender his reins to the country's next leader but cannot do it now as his party, Zanu PF, was faced with internal and external problems and threats.\r\n

He vowed that he would extricate the 48-year old party from the litany of challenges that it was facing.

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President Mugabe’s departure from the office he took over at the attainment of the country’s independence in 1980, has been a subject of intense debate within and outside his party.

Most movers are of the opinion that the president’s health was failing him.

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He has, however, ruled out any failure in his duties over his health, arguing that he was still strong and his bones could allow him to pull through to 100 years.

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In an interview with the Namibian-based Southern Times recently, Mugabe said he needed to sort out some issues in his party first, following which he would step down.

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He said he was cocksure that Zanu PF would find a replacement for him “when the time comes”, arguing that he was still at the helm of the party and still raring to go another mile.

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Two factions are believed to have emerged in Zanu PF party over Mugabe’s replacement.

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Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Didymus Mutasa recently lambasted the existence of two factions in the party; one led by retired Army General, Solomon Mujuru, and the other by Midlands-based strongman, Emmerson Mnangagwa. The Mujuru faction is reportedly preparing the ground for Mujuru’s wife, Joice’s ascendancy to the presidency.

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Said President Mugabe: But you don’t leave the party amidst problems and in a situation of crisis such as we have. You’ve got to get the party out of the crisis and then you can retire. We have got to ensure that we are out of the crisis first before we can think of that,” President Mugabe said.

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He dropped another hint he was still in the office: “And also, the party needs me and we should not create weak points, points of weakness within the party. We must remain solid and in full gear. Once you have change, and if we had it now for example, the new man, or new woman – that is an act that might destroy the party for a while as it goes through transition.”

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President Mugabe told the journalists that he was also clear on the fact that should he leave office without having directed his heir- apparent on the party’s processes, beliefs, and values, the party was likely to face extinction.

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“Any new leader needs time to consolidate, so we don’t want to take risks at all. No risks at this time because there are people who have regime change as their objective. Blair has been calling for it.

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His successors, we haven’t heard the voice of Cameron yet. But there’s that other man…what’s his name? Hague, William Hague. He seems very critical of us and seems to be onto regime change,” the president said.

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Turning to his health, Mugabe said he was attending check-ups with doctors every six months.

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“I continue to have checks every six months. The doctors say that I am okay and some are surprised with my bone structure. They say they are the bones of someone who is 40. I suppose it’s the exercise… I also take calcium every day. At this age you must take calcium and I continue to exercise,” he revealed.

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Mugabe said failure to undergo his “routine daily exercise” affected his health.

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“I fall sick if I don’t exercise. You can see it when I don’t (exercise), you will say he is down today. For now (I feel) as good as my age says I must be. My age says I am not yet old at 87.

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My body is saying the counting doesn’t end at 87 – at least you must get to 100. How old do you want to get? (Answer: 120). Okay, let’s see you then. Will wait and see you then,” he said.