The Guardian Former leader says military has taken over the country and leadership of President Mnangagwa is ‘illegal’ and ‘unconstitutional.’
Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe described his departure from office in November as a “coup d’etat” that “we must undo” in his first TV interview since then, aired on Thursday.
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.”
Mugabe said that he did not hate his successor President Mnangagwa, 75, but insisted he would not work with him 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.
Gideon Chitanga, an analyst at the Johannesburg-based Political Economy Southern Africa think-tank, said that Mugabe’s intervention was significant “coming at a time of elections”.
Presidential polls are due by the end of August in which Mnangagwa will face his first major electoral test.
“In the back of his mind (Mugabe) still sees himself as part of the problem and part of the solution,” said Chitanga.
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.