Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Friday that the country “has moved on” in response to claims by former president Robert Mugabe that he was ousted in an illegal “coup d’etat”.
“The nation has moved on. Our focus at this time shall remain on preparing for free, fair and credible elections in 2018.”
Mnangagwa, 75, stressed that “the Zimbabwe government continues to honour all its obligations towards the former President’s welfare and benefits, as provided for under the Constitution of Zimbabwe”.
Our nation has moved on. It’s time to build a new Zimbabwe, together pic.twitter.com/HkC3G8jgTk
— President of Zimbabwe (@edmnangagwa) March 16, 2018
Presidential polls are due by the end of August in which Mnangagwa will face his first major electoral test.
Mugabe’s media appearance was apparently organised by the new National Patriotic Front (NPF) party which hopes to unseat Mnangagwa’s government in polls expected by August.
Mugabe sent shockwaves through the Zanu-PF ruling party when he recently met with the NPF’s leader, retired general Ambrose Mutinhiri.
In response to a widely-shared image of the two, Zanu-PF Youth League supporters chanted “down with Mugabe” at a rally, a rare outburst from the normally disciplined party that Mugabe led for nearly four decades.
The military moved against Mugabe after he sacked his then-deputy and heir-apparent Mnangagwa, seemingly fearing the nonagenarian was grooming Grace to succeed him as president.