Mugabe: ‘I’ve beaten Christ’ in resurrection stakes

Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe turned 88 yesterday, joking about reports of his imminent demise and vowing to stay in power despite international condemnation.

Mr Mugabe said he was in fine fettle after three decades in charge in an interview with state radio, and made no reference to reports that he is receiving treatment for prostate cancer in Singapore.

“I have died many times. That’s where I have beaten Christ. Christ died once and resurrected once,” the Catholic Mr Mugabe said. “I am as fit as a fiddle.”

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Mr Mugabe, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, said his Zanu-PF party would choose his successor at the right time, but added that he had no intention of stepping down for now, with elections looming this year.

“Our members of the party will certainly select someone once I say I am now retiring, but not yet,” he said in a separate interview on state TV.

“At this age I can still go some distance, can’t I,” Mr Mugabe said, laughing, clapping his hands and rocking in his chair.