Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has announced that he is intending to retire.
The 92-year-old Zimbabwean president has always maintained that he would die in office, however speaking to a group of war veterans at the weekend Mugabe admitted that the country’s economy is crumbling and said that it is time for him to finally retire.
Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe for 30 years.
Zimbabwe’s currency is in poor shape and banks running out of cash, the country is also feeling the pinch of a crippling drought.
However ZanuPF said Mugabe will still be contesting in the country’s next election in 2018 and if he is re-elected, he will only retire in 2023, when he finally turns 99.
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,” he said.
It has never been clear what Mugabe and the governing Zanu PF mean when referring to “regime change”.
According to a senior western diplomat, the British have few financial interests in Zimbabwe and the Americans too “have zero political and economic interest in Zimbabwe”.
Mugabe regularly tells supporters that Zimbabwe has yet-to-be explored financial riches, a claim local geologists and other analysts strongly disagrees with.
“There was a time, some years ago, when Zimbabwe seemed important, that it could be a powerhouse in the region, but that moment has long gone, and now it is hard to find anyone who can forecast how it can repay its debts even with a new leadership, let alone attract foreign investment,” said a Harare-based financial analyst who asked not to be named.
“There are no so-called unexplored minerals. The best opportunities are a few, well managed, small mines, but nothing big.”
He also questioned why anyone with alternatives would choose to live in Zimbabwe, as it was short of water and electricity.
“There is not much to attract anyone to Zimbabwe these days. It is not a particularly comfortable or attractive place to live nowadays.”
Mugabe also acknowledged that there were factions within Zanu PF but that they would come together ahead of the next elections.
Veteran Zimbabwe political analyst Brian Raftopoulos says chances that the fractured opposition could win the next elections are “bleak”.
‘Zimbabwe is so broke it has largely run out of the cash it uses, i.e. the US dollars.’
‘Even with the introduction of new currency called Bond Notes, things are not looking any hopeful.’
Mugabe has accused some Zanu-PF officials of wanting him dead so they can take over power from him.
Over the weekend, the 92-year-old criticised some leaders of his ruling Zanu-PF for wishing him dead and trying to bewitch him so that they could take over.
Internal fighting among Zanu-PF factions vying to succeed Mugabe have intensified as Mugabe appears increasingly frail.
Mugabe has not made it clear who he wants to take over after he leaves.
Many believe his deputy, Emerson Mnangagwa, is about to be President while some see First Lady, Doctor Grace, as the potential successor to the 92 year old.