April 3, 2005 in Nation/World

Mugabe vows to rule to age 100

Los Angeles Times
 

HARARE, Zimbabwe – A triumphant President Robert Mugabe, whose ruling party won parliamentary elections condemned by Western powers as unfair, declared Saturday he would stay in power until he is 100.

Flanked by two stuffed lions, which looked a little moth-eaten about the ears, Zimbabwe’s 81-year-old president greeted international journalists at a news conference with the words, “Are you afraid?”

He warned of serious violence and a tough response if the opposition took to the streets.

After 25 years in power, Mugabe answered a question on retirement plans by mapping out 19 more years at the helm, unless he dies in office. He had earlier promised to leave by 2008.

Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party took 78 seats in the 150-seat parliament, leaving the opposition Movement for Democratic Change with 41 seats in the parliament and one independent. A further 30 seats are appointed by Mugabe.

The result gave the ruling party the two-thirds majority it needs in order to change the constitution and further tighten its grip on power.

U.S. and European observers were excluded from observing the elections, with only those from friendly powers such as South Africa invited.


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