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  • Grace Mugabe says no vacancy at Zimbabwe's state house
    Kitsepile Nyathi, Africa Review
    July 12, 2013

    View this article on the Africa Review website

    Zimbabwe’s First Lady, Grace Mugabe has vowed that President Robert Mugabe will not step down anytime soon as campaigns for the country’s July 31 elections gained momentum.

    The 47 year-old former secretary of the 90 year-old leader has hit the campaign trail with her husband who is seeking to defy age and lend another five years in office.

    “I want to repeat what I said in 2008,” Mrs Mugabe told a rally at a rural business centre about 80 kilometres from Harare on Thursday.

    “I said there is no vacancy at State House.

    “We are there at State House full time and I know this because you have confidence in your leader and you want him to remain at State House.”

    In 2008, President Mugabe lost the first round of the presidential elections to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

    The results of the elections were withheld for three weeks before a runoff poll was called.

    However, Mr Tsvangirai was forced to withdraw from the poll after suspected state security agents unleashed violence against his supporters.

    The international community rejected the results of the one-man poll and this forced President Mugabe to form a coalition with his former arch rival.


    Loathed by many Zimbabweans for her extravagant lifestyle, Mrs Mugabe has often been cited as the reason why her husband does not want to step down even with reports of his failing health.

    At the rally she addressed alongside President Mugabe, she launched a scathing attack against Mr Tsvangirai, describing the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader as ugly and a philanderer. She claimed that when her husband met the Prime Minister for the first time, he came home trembling.

    “He (Mr Tsvangirai) is ugly both facially and in his heart,” Mrs Mugabe said.

    “When Baba (President Mugabe) first met him physically he came home trembling and I asked him what the problem was to which he (President Mugabe) said he had never seen someone that ugly.”

    Meanwhile, Mr Tsvangirai has also sought to exploit President Mugabe’s advanced age in his campaigns saying it would be cruel for Zimbabweans to give his rival another five-year term.

    “I cannot avoid talking about (President) Mugabe’s age,” he said. “It is a serious national issue.

    “The old man needs to rest because at 90 years he should be enjoying his pension.

    “We can’t trust a 90-year-old to run this country for another five years.

    “I gave him four years to pack, now it’s time for him to go and rest in Zvimba (President Mugabe’s rural home) while an energetic, young and responsive government leads Zimbabwe into the future.” President Mugabe turns 90 in February next year.

    He has repeatedly denied reports that he is suffering from advanced prostate cancer.

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