Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe said on Wednesday that the route to leadership was long and full of “pitfalls and death”, as he accused his fired deputy and former protege of showing impatience in his bid to succeed him.
Addressing supporters at the headquarters of his ZANU-PF party in Harare, 93-year-old Mugabe accused Emmerson Mnangagwa of consulting witchdoctors and prophets as part of a campaign to secure the presidency, Reuters reports.
Mnangagwa was fired by Mugabe on Monday and immediately expelled from the ruling Zanu-PF party on Wednesday. He has since fled the country because of death threats.
“My sudden departure was caused by incessant threats on my person, life and family by those who have attempted before through various forms of elimination including poisoning,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
The head of the influential war veterans association, Chris Mutsvangwa, said that Mnangagwa would travel to Johannesburg “very soon”.
Mugabe said Mnangagwa, nicknamed “Crocodile”, had made the same mistakes as Joice Mujuru, who was the president’s deputy for 10 years until she was fired in 2014.
“You should not try to say because the journey is long, then I should take a short cut to arrive quickly. The road has lions. There are pitfalls. There is death, beware,” he said.
“There is no short cut to being the leader of the people. Just as there was no short cut to our independence.” He added.
Mugabe further noted that the ruling party would move to discipline those that conspired with Mnangagwa.
Mutsvangwa denied trying to remove Mugabe by force and said war veterans, who had publicly backed Mnangagwa and broke ranks with the president last year, would form a broad front with the opposition in elections next year.
“We don’t want to abuse the military to resolve a political problem. We don’t want them to become the arbiter of political power,” Mutsvangwa said.