Zimbabweans should be ready to go for fresh polls next year with or without a new constitution, President Mugabe has advised his countrymen.
But the 86 year-old leader ruled quitting power saying he was ready to run in the next presidential election should his ZANU PF party ask him to do so.
Mugabe said this when addressing a rare press briefing Thursday evening. It lasted a full three and a half hours.
“Elections will be a product of the constitution-making process,” he said. “If the process successfully ends, there will be an election. If it fails, that too will lead to an election.”
He added “No one knows when that will be, but the GPA has a lifespan of about two years”
The Global Political Agreement (GPA) expires in February.
The 86 year old leader – the only ruler Zimbabweans have ever known since independence from Britain in 1980 – said he will contest only if his Zanu-PF party asks him.
“If ZANU-PF say’s yes, I will go …. I am a child of ZANU-PF,” he said.
Only last December his party congress endorsed him as leader for the next five years.
With constitutional reforms lagging behind by at least seven months Mugabe’s comments suggest the new vote that was initially expected in 2011 might have to be delayed to probably 2012 or 2013.
Mugabe, who is accused of waging a ruthless campaign of violence, said he was unable to rule out recurrence of political violence ahead of any new election.
“A lot will depend on how our parties will conduct themselves on th ground. I will not say there will be no violence.”
The violence that claimed more than 200 MDC supporters forced the premier, Tsvangirai to withdraw from a 2008 presidential second round ballot.
Commenting on the international scene, Mugabe said Zimbabwe- Britain relations would be much better if the opposition Conservatives win the next elections.
“We have always related better with the British through the Conservatives than Labour. Conservatives are bold, (Tony) Blair and (Gordon) Brown run away when they see me, but not these fools, they know how to relate to others,” said Mugabe.
Relations between Zimbabwe and London have been strained over the past decade after Mugabe regime began grabbing white-owned farms, under his controversial land reform.