Robert Mugabe, ousted Zimbabwe President, says he never expected Emmerson Mnangagwa, his successor, to turn against him.
The former president, who ruled Zimbabwe from 1980 to 2017, said this on Thursday in an interview with South African state broadcaster SABC.
Mugabe, 94, stepped down under pressure from Mnangagwa’s allies in the army in November. He quit as parliament began a process to impeach him, triggering wild celebrations in the streets.
“I never thought he whom I had nurtured and brought into government and whose life I worked so hard in prison to save as he was threatened with hanging, that one day he would be the man who would turn against me,” Mugabe said.
Mnangagwa was convicted of sabotage under white minority rule and sentenced to death. But he was spared the noose because it was deemed that he was a minor when he committed the crime.
Mugabe said he was ousted in a military takeover and that Mnangagwa had assumed the presidency illegally.
“I don’t hate Emmerson; I brought him into government. But he must be proper. He is improper where he is Illegal. We must undo this disgrace, which we have imposed on ourselves. We don’t deserve it,” he said.
Mugabe has resided in his Harare mansion with wife, Grace, since his fall from power. He was granted immunity from prosecution and assured that his safety will be protected in his home country under a deal that resulted in his resignation.
While some view Mugabe as a liberation hero, others remember him for turning a promising country into an economic basket case and international pariah.
Mnangagwa, deputy president under Mugabe, has promised to open up Zimbabwe to foreign investment and mend ties with the West.