Former Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, Thursday, in a first rare interview after his ouster, said he had no desire to return to power, but described his departure from office in November 2017as a “coup d’etat” that “we must undo.”
Mugabe, 94, spoke slowly but clearly to South Africa’s SABC broadcaster from an office in Harare, dressed in a grey suit, sitting in front of a portrait of himself and his wife Grace.
“I say it was a coup d’etat – some people have refused to call it a coup d’etat,” said Mugabe referring to the brief army takeover which led to Emmerson Mnangagwa assuming power after Mugabe’s resignation.
“We must undo this disgrace which we have imposed on ourselves, we don’t deserve it… Zimbabwe doesn’t deserve it.”
In another similarly vehement interview, with Britain’s ITV News, the elderly former leader said he had no desire to return to power.
“I don’t want to be president, no of course,” he said. “I’m now 94.”
Mugabe told both interviewers he did not hate his successor President Mnangagwa, 75, but alleged that he had “betrayed the whole nation”.
The ousted leader insisted he would not work with Mnangagwa and suggested that his presidency was “illegal” and “unconstitutional”.
“People must be chosen in government in a proper way. I’m willing to discuss, willing to assist in that process – but I must be invited,” he said.
“I never thought… he would be the man who turned against me,” said Mugabe.
“It was truly a military takeover, there was no movement visible unless that movement was checked and allowed by the army.”
Reflecting on his decades in power, which were marked by catastrophic economic policies, Mugabe remained adamant it had been a success story and any errors “weren’t that bad”.
“If anything, in comparison to other countries in Africa, we have had greater prosperity here and people have their land,” he told ITV News.
However, when questioned about well documented human rights abuses throughout his tenure, Mugabe appeared more acknowledging of reality.
“We have been accused of that and on that side, yes some errors were done,” he admitted.