Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe reportedly told thousands of people attending the commemorations of Day of the African Child that he will quit as leader of the country.
Speaking at the event which was held in Harare, the 92 year-old said he will quit politics but hoped his successors will be better him.
“Once upon a time, I was like you. But I am not like you anymore. I am on my way out,” he is quoted by press as telling the gathering of thousands of children.
“But when I look over my shoulder, I would want to see bold and courageous men. I want to look behind and say those coming will be better than me.”
Before Saturday, Mugabe had never publicly talked about quitting politics hence the remarks have led to discussions over his successor.
Within his Zanu-PF there are already two visible factions gunning for Mugabe’s seat, one called G-40 is led by Mugabe’s wife Grace while the other one known as Lacoste Team fights for Zimbabwe vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The two however may be involved in a futile fight since the constitution allows Mugabe to run for one more term which will end in 2022, a provision the veteran president may consider using given his history of clinging to power.
Mugabe — the only leader Zimbabwe has known since independence 36 years ago — has used all manner of tactics to cling to power, including alleged violence against political opponents and electoral fraud.
A London-based Zimbabwe Vigil, a pressure group protesting President Robert Mugabe’s continued rule, last week petitioned the current chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Ian Khama who is also the president of Botswana.
The vigil delivered its petition to the Botswana High Commission in London, calling on SADC to intervene in Zimbabwe’s economic and political crisis.
The economic crisis that resurged in 2013 following controversial elections won by Zanu PF has been worsening amid a biting cash crunch, little public revenue and a clampdown on human rights defenders ahead of the 2018 general elections.
Disgruntlement is rising within the general populace, civil servants and the security sector as government struggles to pay salaries on time.
The pressure group which has been lobbying for respect for human rights and better governance for the last 14 years, said in a report that it met a senior diplomat who promised to take the petition to Khama who replaced Mugabe as the SADC chair in 2015.
At home, Mugabe’s government announced that it was broke and couldn’t pay the army as well as public servants on time.
The church has also joined the populace to demand for reforms from Mugabe’s regime.