Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has said that the route to leadership was long and full of “pitfalls and death”.
This is even as he has accused his fired deputy and former protégé of showing impatience in his bid to succeed him.
Addressing supporters at the headquarters of his ZANU-PF party in Harare, 93-year-old Mugabe accused Emmerson Mnangagwa of consulting witchdoctors and prophets as part of a campaign to secure the presidency.
Mnangagwa, who was sacked by Mugabe on Monday and expelled from the ruling Zanu-PF party on Wednesday, said he had fled Zimbabwe because of death threats and was safe.
“My sudden departure was caused by incessant threats on my person, life and family by those who have attempted before through various forms of elimination including poisoning,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
The head of the influential war veterans association, Chris Mutsvangwa, said that Mnangagwa, 75, would travel to Johannesburg in neighboring South Africa “very soon”.
Mugabe said Mnangagwa, nicknamed “Crocodile”, had made the same mistakes as Joice Mujuru, who was the president’s deputy for 10 years until she was fired in 2014.
“You should not try to say because the journey is long, then I should take a short cut to arrive quickly. The road has lions. There are pitfalls. There is death, beware,” he said.
“There is no short cut to being the leader of the people. Just as there was no short cut to our independence.”