President Robert Mugabe — who turns 90 in February next year — wants to rest, but has been forced to seek re-election owing to the factional fights within his Zanu PF party, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said.
Tsvangirai told over 2 000 MDC-T supporters at Chitekete growth point in Gokwe on Tuesday evening that Zanu PF warring factions were holding Mugabe hostage.
“I spoke to him (Mugabe) and asked why he was still holding on at such an advanced age and after 33 years of disastrous rule. He was clear he wanted to let go, but feared that if he did so his party would collapse,” he said.
“Mugabe said, ‘my problem is almost similar with yours if I leave now those factions will tear each other apart’.”
Zanu PF faces a stern test with its hazy succession policy with reports that Vice-President Joice Mujuru and secretary for legal affairs Emmerson Mnangagwa are leading separate factions tearing each other apart for the right to succeed the ageing Mugabe.
However, Mujuru and Mnangagwa have publicly disassociated themselves from the factions within Zanu PF.
Tsvangirai said Mugabe was aware that factions were tearing Zanu PF apart.
“He knows that they are sharks in his party who are lurking underneath to take over the party. He told me that the factions would destroy his party so with your vote we will send him home to deal with his two babies,” he said.
The MDC-T leader said the inclusive government was a way of giving the veteran Zanu PF leader a dignified exit.
“Sadc told Mugabe that, ‘you lost elections, but since you are an elder we have put together a dignified exit plan through the Global Political Agreement’,” Tsvangirai claimed.
“‘Go and work with this child (Tsvangirai) in the inclusive government to restore the dignity of your people before you rest’.”
For two days, Tsvangirai has been campaigning in the Zanu PF strongholds of Gumunyu and Nembudziya in Gokwe.