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92yo Zimbabwean strongman Mugabe set to stand in next election

92yo Zimbabwean strongman Mugabe set to stand in next election
Zimbabwe's 92-year-old leader Robert Mugabe has been endorsed as his ruling party's presidential candidate for the 2018 national election.

The Zanu-PF party declared its support for Mugabe in the south-eastern town of Masvingo on Saturday, with the party's youth group suggesting that the longtime ruler should stay in power for life, AP reports.

Youth wing leader Kudzai Chipanga said Mugabe's birth certificate and ID should be changed to “President Robert Mugabe.”

Various party members also sang the praises of their leader. Cabinet minister Supa Mandiwanzira made a pun using his name, saying: “I am not super, Mr President. It is you who is super.”

Mugabe himself admitted that there were people in his party who wanted him to step down, but urged them to make peace.

“Let us stop fighting each other,” he said, as cited by AP.

Mugabe won Zimbabwe’s 2013 election, which was beset with claims of voting fraud. The leader has been in power since the country gained independence from Britain in 1980, still travels a lot, and last year said he wanted to live until 100.

Opposition groups say that supporters of the strongman are out of touch with reality, and that the country is facing a stagnant economy, high levels of unemployment and falling living standards.

Last month, Zimbabwe’s National Bank introduced a controversial new currency due to a massive shortage of US dollars, the main medium of trade in the country, sparking fears it will cause hyperinflation.

In March, the country’s government said that companies owned by foreigners would face closure unless they sell or give up 51 percent of their shares to black Zimbabweans by April 1.