ZIMBABWE – President Robert Mugabe says it’s “the Lord” who has let him live to the ripe old age of 91, but avoiding alcohol has helped.
Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, told mourners at a state funeral this weekend that he was now “aiming” for 92.
Mugabe was speaking at the burial of Justice Andrew Mutema in Harare.
“Look at me speaking. I am 91 and now aiming for 92. It is the Lord. That is His … doing. Others get a long life, others get a short life and some die at a young age,” he reportedly told the Sunday Mail.
The state ZBC broadcaster quoted the Zimbabwean president, who is Catholic and known for his frugal diet, as also saying: “I refused to drink alcohol. Our mother only made mahewu for us,” he said.
Mahewu is fermented mielie pap.
Bona, Mugabe’s mother, lived well into her nineties. The president’s only daughter is named after her.
Mugabe travels from time to time to Singapore for what the authorities insist are eye check-ups. His slow pace of walking in recent months has attracted attention, as did a highly-publicised stumble earlier this year.
His wife, Grace, made a rare reference to her husband’s mortality when she told a rally this week: “Time will come when President Mugabe is gone, you will regret and wish that the president was around.”
She has denied having ambitions to succeed him.