PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has hit back at critics claiming he is pushing for fresh polls due to increasing health worries, saying his rivals were not faring any better in that regard and had ARVs to thank for their apparent good health.
Mugabe was nominated by Zanu PF to contest the presidency in fresh elections the party insists must be held this year to end a coalition government.
Mugabe turned 88 this year and has been dogged by speculation over failing health leading to claims Zanu PF is worried he may not have the energy for another showdown with long-term rival Morgan Tsvangirai if the poll is not held this year.
But addressing a Zanu PF Women’s League meeting at Darwendale Friday, Mugabe said he was in good physical condition and claimed that rivals speculating over his health were in fact surviving on ARVs.
Mugabe has travelled to Asia several times amid reports he was receiving treatment for advanced cancer. Officials however, said he had only received attention for a minor eye complaint.
His wife, Grace also laughed off the claims in a rare interview with a state-run weekly newspaper last Sunday saying: “They say Mugabe is a very old man and this and that, but he is very sound and lucid. Very, very sound, I’m telling you, and very energetic, too.
“He will not miss his morning exercises, seven days a week. At that age, he is very lucky he inherited his mother’s genes. We think when she died she was over 100 years old and she was very sound. She was never sick at all and the President is not sick at all.”
Meanwhile, Mugabe also said he expects the constitutional reform committee to complete its work in time for new elections to be held this year.
The Zanu PF leader has been pressing for fresh polls this year but faces resistance from his coalition partners who want political reforms to be completed first.
However, Mugabe claimed those opposing new polls lost in the 2008 general elections and want to coalition administration to remain in office so they can keep their government positions.