Christ is second string to 'fit as a fiddle' Mugabe
Published 22/02/2012 | 05:00
ROBERT Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president, compared himself with Jesus on Tuesday as he used his 88th birthday celebrations to dismiss persistent reports of ill-health.
He declared he was as "fit as a fiddle" and promised to hold elections this year.
In an interview with the Zimbabwean state broadcaster, Mr Mugabe joked: "I have died many times. That's where I have beaten Christ. Christ died once and resurrected once."
Mr Mugabe, Africa's oldest leader, laughed repeatedly during a long interview, saying he had no intention of stepping down. "At this age I can still go some distance," he said.
He promised to stand again in elections that he insisted should be held this year -- even if that broke an agreement he signed with Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister in Zimbabwe's fragile coalition government, that a new constitution must be in place before the next poll.
Political analyst Brian Raftopoulos said he feared that elections without reforms would leave Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party free to inflict violence against Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters.
But in a conciliatory tone, Mr Mugabe -- who was beaten by Mr Tsvangirai in elections marred by violence in 2008 -- said the MDC was no longer an "enemy" but a political "opponent". (© Daily Telegraph, London)