Zimbabwe’s First Lady Grace Mugabe reportedly told thousands of supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF to put her husband’s name, President Robert Mugabe, on the ballot during next year’s elections to show their love for him – even if he dies.
Speaking on Friday to thousands of cheering supporters at a rally in Buhera, eastern Zimbabwe, Grace said her husband should run “as a corpse”, The Telegraph reports.
“If God decides to take him, then we would rather field him as a corpse,” she said in the local Shona language.
Mugabe turns 93 on Tuesday with celebrations planned a few days after his birthday. He has been in power since 1980 when white minority rule ended in the southern African country following years of war.
He has declared that he wants to live until 100 and rule Zimbabwe for life, amid growing party factions vying to replace him.
South African-born Grace, 51, has increasingly become visible in Zimbabwean politics as her husband has slowed down on public engagements. There is speculation that she may be vying to become president herself.
She has warned Mugabe’s comrades from the guerrilla-war era that they cannot take power, because they are also old.
“Anyone who was with Mugabe in 1980 has no right to tell him he is old. If you want Mugabe to go, then you leave together. Then we take over because we were not there in 1980,” she said, apparently pointing to herself.