91 year-old Mugabe asks wife's permission to drink vodka

Grace Mugabe looks on next to her husband Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe during his 91st birthday celebration in Victoria Falls February 28, 2015.  © Philimon Bulawayo
President Robert Mugabe may have expelled white colonizers and held power for 35 years, but the 91-year-old apparently needs permission from his wife to drink alcohol.

The controversial African nationalist leader closed his party conference by jokingly asking if his wife Grace would allow him to drink a bottle of vodka he received as a gift.

Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since Jimmy Carter was US president, was speaking at a conference for his ruling Zanu-PF party at the lavish Elephant Hills resort in Victoria Falls on December 12, according to news24.com.

The party confirmed at the conference that Mugabe would be their candidate for the 2018 presidential election. He will be 94 if elected and could potentially be a 99-year-old president at the end of the five year term.

Mugabe was visibly frail at the conference where he spoke in front of 6,000 people, according to AFP, with reports that discussions behind the scenes tried to figure out who his successor would be.

Earlier this year, Mugabe fell at an airport in Zimbabwe and stumbled at the India-Africa Summit. In September he read a speech in parliament that had already been read by him previously a month earlier.

The current president is struggling to deal with worsening unemployment in the country where 80% of the workforce is without a job. Laws have been brought in to try and prevent companies laying off workers and making severance pay mandatory, but the rate is expected to rise.

Despite this, Mugabe reflected positively on his party’s rule in 2015 and said 2016 would be even better.

Mugabe’s wife Grace is leader of the women’s wing of Zanu-PF. In April, former vice president Joice Mujuru was expelled from the party after Mrs Mugabe accused her of plotting to overthrow her husband.