Ousted former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has said that he doesn’t hate his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa, speaking in his first televised interviews since leaving office.
“I don’t want to be president again. I’m 94,” Mugabe added.
Mnangagwa’s presidency thus far has been characterized by its outward-looking stance, as he attempts to revive Zimbabwe’s troubled economy by attracting foreign investment.
Zimbabwe’s ousted former President Robert Mugabe said he doesn’t hate his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa, but added that his position in office is illegal.
“I don’t hate Emmerson, I brought him into government. I would want to work with him. But he must be proper, he is improper where he is. Illegal,” Mugabe told South Africa’s SABC News Thursday in his first televised interviews since his resignation in November 2017.
Mnangagwa succeeded Mugabe in November, following a turbulent week in which the military took control of the country and placed Mugabe under house arrest. He resigned as parliament began the process to impeach him, news of which led to a jubilant response on the streets of Zimbabwe. Mugabe insisted in SABC’s interview that a coup d’etat had taken place.
Mugabe also said that he never thought that Mnangagwa, who was his protege, his deputy president and also a member of the ZANU-PF party, would act against him.
“I never thought he whom I had nurtured and brought into government and whose life I worked so hard in prison to save as he was threatened with hanging, that one day he would be the man who would turn against me,” Mugabe said.
Mnangagwa, whose nickname is “The Crocodile,” was convicted for guerrilla warfare under white minority rule and sentenced to death in 1965, but his life was eventually spared as he was a minor when he committed the crime.
Mugabe’s own time in power was marred by economic mismanagement, resulting in hyperinflation, and violent suppression of opponents. He assumed the presidency of the former British colony in 1987.
When questioned in a separate interview Thursday by the U.K.’s ITV News on whether he had ruined Zimbabwe’s economic prosperity, Mugabe said: “Ruined? Of course not.”