Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has vowed to stay in power, saying his countrymen have no problem with his long rule.
The 92-year-old president, in power since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, was speaking on Tuesday in Tokyo, Japan where he is on a state visit.
He told journalists that Zimbabweans did not want him to step down and he was considering running for yet another term in 2018.
Vote for myself
“If they (some people) don’t like my long stay in power they should criticise my people… I do not vote for myself into power,” President Mugabe said.
“You just go to Zimbabwe now and ask the people whether I should stand down, they will be angry with you.”
President Mugabe has been accused of resorting to electoral fraud and violence to stay in power since the emergence of a strong opposition in 1999.
He was forced to form an inclusive government in 2009 after he lost the first round of a presidential election the previous year.
President Mugabe had won a controversial run-off poll where his opponent, former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, was forced to withdraw because of deadly violence against his supporters.
A fortnight ago, the long-time ruler complained that Zimbabwe’s former liberation war fighters wanted him to step down.
The ruling party has also been purging supporters of former Vice-President Joice Mujuru, who was fired in 2014 for allegedly plotting to topple Mugabe.
The Zimbabwean ruler has been frequenting Singapore where he was reportedly receiving medical treatment for an unknown ailment, but he told the journalists in Tokyo that he was still fit to rule.
“At the moment, I am the president that’s why (I am here),” he said.
Flying to Japan
President Mugabe spent four days in Singapore before flying to Japan on Sunday.
He had visited the same country at the beginning of the month.