Former President Robert Mugabe has claimed that he was going to hand over power until the Zimbabwe Defence Forces launched a military coup against his rule. Mugabe claimed that he had planned to officially step down at the Zanu-PF Extraordinary Congress which was scheduled for December 2017. Mugabe also disputed claims that he wanted to leave his wife Grace as his successor arguing that he had already identified former Minister of Defence Sydney Sekeramayi as his heir apparent. He went on to say that Sekeramayi and Mnangagwa would have competed for leadership at the Zanu PF Congress. Speaking at a press conference at his Blue Roof residence on Sunday, Mugabe said,
Why did a section of our people decide to go this way? In order to secure a position of leadership for just one person? Was there no better route. The Zanu PF, which I led, had scheduled an extraordinary congress for December 2017. I was going to resign and open our system. So those who wanted to compete for leadership of the party and leadership of the country would do so… at that Congress, I was going to support a candidate I had in mind. I had in mind all the time Dr (Sydney) Sekeramayi.
When Thabo Mbeki, former president of South Africa asked whom I wanted to take over after me. I said Dr Sekeramayi will by my choice. I had talked to Dr Sekeramayi and he was surprised.
… I was going to argue at that Congress for people to choose…They would compete at that Congress. That did not happen. All the talk, all the nonsense you hear that the president wanted to leave his wife as president, all that nonsense…it’s utter nonsense. So, hear it from me…I was sacked from the party I formed with others. I was regarded as an enemy. If the coup was to protect me, how come that I’m treated now as an opponent?