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Zimbabwe will vote for Mugabe even when he's dead: wife

AFP
17 February 2017 | Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has been in power since 1980.  By Jekesai NJIKIZANA (AFP/File)
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has been in power since 1980. By Jekesai NJIKIZANA (AFP/File)

Harare (AFP) - The wife of 92-year-old Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said Friday that he would be the voters' choice even after he dies, as she addressed supporters from the ruling ZANU-PF party.

Grace Mugabe, who is seen as a possible successor to her ailing husband, ratcheted up her colourful rhetoric ahead of the general election due next year.

"One day when God decides that Mugabe dies, we will have his corpse appear as a candidate on the ballot paper," Grace Mugabe told a party rally in Buhera, southeast of the capital Harare.

"You will see people voting for Mugabe as a corpse. I am seriously telling you -- just to show people how people love their president."

President Mugabe has vowed to stand again in the election, but Grace could run if he dies before the vote.

Grace Mugabe, who was appointed leader of ZANU-PF's women's wing in a surprise move two years ago, is well known for her fiery speeches and verbal attacks on her husband's opponents.

In 2015, she led a campaign which led to the ousting of deputy president Joice Mujuru, accusing Mujuru of fanning factionalism, plotting to topple Mugabe and corruption and bribery.

President Mugabe, the world's oldest national leader, turns 93 on Tuesday, with a celebration party planned for next Saturday.

Grace has previously pledged to push Mugabe in his wheelchair to election rallies if needed.

Mugabe, who has been in power since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980, has avoided naming a successor and his party is divided between factions jostling to succeed him.

Grace bemoaned the in-fighting, telling those seeking to succeed her husband: "Let's not fool each other, let's wait for God's time."

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