Zimbabwe’s former President Robert Mugabe has said that he accepts the election victory of his successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, IOL news site reports.
“Mnangagwa won. It’s now constitutional… It was an election and his victory cannot be disputed. We now leave behind us the transgressions of yesterday.” Mugabe told mourners on Thursday at his mother in-law’s funeral ceremony in the capital, Harare.
The 94-year-old leader, who was ousted by the military in November 2017 after more than three decades in power, had backed main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa for the 30 July election.
In a surprise press conference on the eve of the election, he slammed the military takeover and said that he was being mistreated by the government.
“But that is now in the past and everyone must dialogue and unite. We are now in a new era. Let us work together for our country,” Mr Mugabe said on Thursday.
Mr Mugabe did not attend Mr Mnangagwa’s swearing-in ceremony on 26 August but sent his daughter to represent him.
The former leader also revealed that he had wanted former defence minister Sidney Sekeramayi to take over from him.
“Those who staged the coup knew that Sekeramayi was my preferred successor,” Mr Mugabe said.
His wife, Grace, who has had a contentious relationship with President Mnangagwa, thanked her political nemesis at the event for facilitating her travel from Singapore after her mother died.
“I want to thank Mnangagwa for chartering a new plane to bring me home to mourn my mother. It was a beautiful plane, a brand new Gulf Stream from Qatar,” Mrs Mugabe said, adding that she felt comforted.
“Mnangagwa comforted me. If it takes my mother’s death for us to have the friendship we once had, then let it be,” she added.
Mrs Mugabe’s ambition to succeed her husband and her rivalry with Mr Mnangagwa is what resulted in the unprecedented intervention by the army leading to the removal of Mr Mugabe from office.
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