Former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe says he won’t be a candidate in the 2018 upcoming presidential elections.

Speaking exclusively to SABC News, he has dismissed rumours that he will be running for office in the country’s election later this year.

Speculation had been rife since the newly formed National Patriotic Front announced it would contest elections. The party is led by ousted ZANU-PF members who continue to be Mugabe loyalists.

The 93-year-old, who led Zimbabwe for 37 years, says there are younger candidates suitable for the position.

 

“To be a candidate no. Why should I be a candidate now? I can support it, but I can’t be a candidate. There are so many young fellows now we should support them. If they think the new party will represent the party better, it will be democratic. I support that.”

Mugabe says the Matabeleland killings are a difficult issue. He says he supports the calls for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission-like process to be conducted in his country.

A bill has been tabled in Parliament to fast track a formal reconciliatory mechanism for Zimbabwe. Key to talks of rebuilding is Gukurahundi – the state-sponsored massacre of over 20 000 people believed to be dissidents in Matabeleland in the 1980’s. Mugabe says dialogues on past injustices are necessary to heal the nation.

The former strongman also commented on the South African transition, where he praised President Cyril Ramaphosa for the smooth transfer of power.