In any case, the 93-year-old pioneer said eventually that naming his successor, is a decision Zanu-PF party must settle officially.
“I can have my own hope yet that individual must battle it out with different competitors at the congress,” Mugabe said at a youth rally he went to , with a huge number of supporters in Bindura, a cultivating town 90km north of the capital Harare.
“The constitution says the leader is chosen at the congress.”
Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, said that it would be unprecedented for the presidency to be handed over to an appointee without the ruling party’s input.
“We have never done it before that… I will leave or give power to Mrs Mugabe, or Emmerson or Mphoko as my successor,” he said, referring to his wife, his deputy and former vice-president Phelekezela Mphoko who is also seen as a contender to replace Mugabe.
“I follow the regulations very strictly. I cannot leave my wife in power like they do in some French (speaking) countries. We do not do that in Zanu-PF, we have a good history.”
Mugabe’s wife was once dismissed as a light-weight shopping addict with no political instincts, but Grace has recently emerged as a serious challenger for power.
Aged 52, the first lady has dropped heavy hints that she aspires to the presidential palace and has publicly called on her husband to name a successor. She has been increasingly active in public life in recent months and now leads the Zanu-PF women’s wing.