18, December 2016
Zimbabwe’s ruling party, ZANU-PF, has endorsed President Robert Mugabe as its candidate for the upcoming presidential election. Mugabe was endorsed at a party conference held on Saturday in Masvingo, located about 300 kilometers southeast of the capital Harare.
Deputy Secretary Eunice Sandi Moyo said the party’s congress had voiced “its support to the president and first secretary comrade Robert Mugabe as the sole candidate for the forthcoming 2018 elections.” The endorsement of the incumbent president was met with resounding applause from supporters attending the annual conference.
Thousands of cheering supporters chanted slogans in Shona language meaning, “Rule, Rule Father.” Mugabe, 92, has ruled the African country for more than 36 years and won the most recent election in 2013. He has been in power since the country’s independence from the British colonial rule in 1980. In April, thousands of supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, attended a demonstration in Harare, calling for the resignation of the president.
Zimbabwe has seen a surge in public discontent with an economic crisis that has left banks short of cash and the government struggling to pay its workers. Many have taken to the streets over the past weeks, protesting against the failure of the Mugabe administration in addressing economic woes. ZANU-PF is also in turmoil over a successor for the ailing president, which has triggered more concerns that the country, known for its rich resources, would slide deeper into chaos.