Harare: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is planning to retire after his country’s next elections and is seeking immunity from prosecution for a string of human rights abuses, it has emerged.
According to a report in a South African newspaper, an official claimed that Mugabe wanted to ensure he could continue living securely and without risk of prosecution following his retirement, but had decided it was time to step down following three decades of power.
Mugabe, 87, is hoping to secure victory at polls this year or in 2013 before handing over to a younger successor, the report said.
The unnamed official said that ``’the plan is that after the elections Mugabe will retire and hand over power to a senior party official, who will complete his term while consolidating himself or herself.’
“The president is now making plans to retire and resolve the succession issue, but only after he gets security guarantees,” the daily quoted the official, as saying.
“Depending on what constitution would be in place, how the successor comes in would be determined by the constitutional and political circumstances, particularly the outcome of the elections insofar as it concerns the distribution of seats in parliament and the executive arrangement,” the official added.
The newspaper reported that Mugabe revealed his plan to retire on Wednesday during a meeting of senior officials from his ruling Zanu-PF party.
Mugabe has been blamed for a series of human rights abuses as he used fear and intimidation to ensure his continued control.
He lost a presidential election in 2008, but clung to power and was forced into a unity government with the country’s opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.