By Staff Reporter
FORMER President Robert Mugabe Thursday made startling claims he had not been aware his then deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa harboured presidential ambitions.
The 94-year-old veteran politician was addressing mourners who gathered for his late mother-in-law, Ambuya Idah Marufu’s funeral.
Mugabe took time to endorse his former aide’s recent victory as the country’s new leader.
In his comments, the long serving former leader said his choice for successor was then Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi while denying he once had plans to install his wife Grace as President.
“What happed yesterday was wrong and that has been put aside by the election results. For today the winner is Emmerson Mnangagwa,” Mugabe said while referring to the November 14 coup that ousted him.
Mugabe said he had not known of any Mnangagwa presidential ambitions when he was still at the helm of the country.
“I didn’t know Emmerson wanted to be the President,” he said.
“I was of the wish that since we were going to the party (Zanu PF) congress in December (2017), I wanted people to vote for Sekeramayi because he was senior to Mnangagwa.”
“So Sekeremayi was my successor, those who said I wanted to hand over power to Grace that was a lie.
“These are issues of the congress and even my idea of Sekeramayi succeeding me, I was going to put it on the December congress agenda.
“I even confided this in former President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki.
“But everything changed when Emmerson approached the army and Chiwenga (then Commander Defence Forces) to assist him and when he heard that the army was in support of him, then we said they must help us at the congress.”
Mugabe said he offered to resign for the sake of peace in the country.
“Then we also heard that people marched in the streets and most of them opposition supporters and from the parliament, I heard they wanted to impeach me,” he said.
“And then I said I didn’t want people to fight and to have chaos in the country and I then offered to resign.
“Then Emmerson took over as President. But that was unconstitutional and without the general elections, I said I won’t support him because I wanted things to be done constitutionally.
“He later went for elections and he was voted by the people; it also went to court which ruled that he has won.
“Then I said that is constitutional now. No one can say no. He was elected by the people.”
Mugabe appealed on Zimbabweans to move on and forget about events of last November.
“I have accepted the election results and now we must all support the outcome.
“What happened last year also destroyed the ideals of the liberation struggle that the gun does not lead the politics.
“The gun does not and should not lead politics…
“Now that we have a government that was elected in power through elections, let’s all support the new government.
“And all those contesting must do so in line with good politics. After five years, we go back to the elections. But for today, the winner is Emmerson. Let’s give all the necessary support.”